Dope brand | Amethyard wines from Huailai shine

By Jim Boyce | A bunch of people asked me about Amethyst Manor Winery (怀来紫晶庄园), located just north of Beijing, after last Saturday’s China wine tasting at Pudao. Along with praising the wine quality, some were amused by the English name Amethyard, which they read as “A Meth Yard” and associated with a crystal meth / crack house. Yikes!

Amethyst has also bottled wines under the Danbian label, and I’ve been lucky enough to try those, too. I missed weekend’s tasting, due to a boozy BBQ on Beijing’s suburbs, but Helene Ponty, whose family owns a Bordeaux operation, told me she was impressed by the wine.

“The [Marselan was excellent,” said Ponty. “It was fresh and was unique compared to other wines at the tasting. Well-balanced, not too oaky, and I like the label style.”

(Ponty wasn’t among those who saw a double meaning in the name. Also, if you want to buy that Marselan, see here. Pudao also has the Cabernet Sauvignon listed here.)

Amethyst is yet another example, along with my favorites Canaan / Zhongfa, of what is possible in Hualai. The winery is headed by Ma Shusen (马树森) and is a fairly short drive from Beijing. Here is a snippet from the website:

“Amethyst Manor is located in the wine region of Huailai within Heibei province. The vineyard is only 18 Km away from the Badaling side of Great Wall. The vineyard is richly endowed by nature and the Guan Ting Reservoir helps to moderate some extreme climatic variations from the North. Combining nature with state of the art winemaking facilities and great international expertise, their bold, fruit forward and characterful wines are starting to garner international interest.”

The grape portfolio includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Marselan, Syrah, Chardonnay, and more. And like many wineries in China, it has been active in promotion: entering wine in contests at home and abroad, participating in trade fairs such as VinExpo, hosting a steady flow of VIPs and getting involved in fun activities such as festivals.

Amethyst can be reached from Beijing via the Badaling Expressway or, apparently, by bus, although it might involve a few kilometers of walking. Amethyst also has shops in Haidian and in Zhangjiakou.

Here are a few photos from the Amethyst site:

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