Legation libations | U.S. Embassy / California Wine Institute holiday party

coupe de foudre us embassy china

By Jim Boyce | California Wine Institute (CWI) teamed with U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus and Melodee Hanes last month for a holiday tasting at the embassy in Beijing. The event felt like a cap, both for Baucus’ term and for two years of initiatives by the CWI China team headed by Chris Beros. The most notable project was a series of classes and consumer events held in two dozen cities beyond the usual stops of Beijing and Shanghai. It’s the kind of on-the-ground campaign that brings Californian wines to new audiences. For its part, the embassy has provided strong backing over that time. Baucus, whose last name is ideal for someone promoting wine, has championed U.S. labels and here is hoping that momentum continues with the incoming ambassador.

The party featured plenty of top-notch wines, starting with Schramsberg bubbly. My favorites of the evening were the Petite Syrah from Stag’s Leap and the Cabernets from Dunn, Beaulieu and Coup de Fourde, the latter with Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. That Beaulieu Vineyard wine—the Georges de Latour Private Reserve 2012—stood out. It was soft and sumptuous with dark fruit and cassis characteristics and restrained oak. Alan Wong of Hatsune in Beijing and Shanghai and Brad Turley of Goga in Shanghai were in charge of the food. Seeing a bowl of pickled beets reminded me of home—my Mom makes them for the holidays every year!


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