‘Discovery Series’: Canaan Releases Six Skin-Contact Wines

I posted last month about an intriguing series of skin-contact wines I tasted at Canaan winery in Huailai County, just outside Beijing, wines using grapes such as Muller-Thurgau and Riesling and Chenin Blanc.

Canaan has now officially released those wines–six in total–as the newest line in its “Discovery Series.”

“For the 2022 vintage, the winemakers experimented more deeply with the diversity of terroirs and varietal characteristics of the Huailai appellation,” stated the winery’s WeChat account. “Today, Canaan officially launched the second set of macerated wines in the Discovery Series, ‘The Book of Aromas’, to present more variations of Chinese wines to friends who love wine.”

The wines all had natural fermentation — no commercial yeast — with minimal amounts of sulfur dioxide added. Other wine-making measures depended on the grape varieties.

Some varieties, such as Gewürztraminer and Muscat, were fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks to maximize the aromatics and freshness, while others, such as Chardonnay and Riesling, spent time in clay containers and oak barrels.

The wines are now available at Canaan’s online shop for RMB280 per bottle.

When tasting these last month, I most enjoyed the Riesling, a fresh light juicy easy-drinking wine that gave off different aromas each time I stuck my nose in the glass. Gingerbread, tangerine, cloves, more.

And the Muller-Thurgau, with refreshing acidity, light easy tannins, ripe stone fruit and hints of tropical fruit and candied ginger.

The Chardonnay was the juiciest, a party in a glass, with the Muscat and Chenin Blanc more subdued and subtle.

In any case, here are a few details on the wines.

  • Chenin Blanc: fermented in stainless steel, skin contact for 6 weeks, aged in small stainless steel tanks.
  • Muscat, Chenin Blanc & Gewurztraminer: Same as Chenin Blanc above.
  • Chardonnay: Half fermented in stainless steel for 6 weeks, half in 500-liter clay containers, skin contact for 5 weeks, barrel aging for 8 months.
  • Riesling: Fermented in 500-liter clay containers, skin contact for 5 weeks, barrel aging for 8 months.
  • Muller-Thurgau: Same as Riesling above.
  • Muscat, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and more: A combination of methods with 8 months of barrel aging and no filtration.

See my original post on these wines here. Plus, for more on Canaan, see “China’s First Million-Point Wine” and “Will This Chinese Winery Put Hebei Province on the Map.”

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