Jancis Robinson: Enter the Flagon: New Wines from China
My two previous visits had been in 2002 and 2008 and on the second I had been deeply depressed by the fact that, while the rest of the world was making better wine with every vintage, the quality of the Chinese wine seemed to have stagnated. The typical Chinese wine still tastes like a very poor quality Bordeaux Rouge: sometimes not recognisably vinous, thin from overproduction, tart from under-ripeness, and often tough, thanks to an obsession with the unyielding Cabernet Sauvignon grape that has dominated vineyard plantings in China’s new wine drinking era. This seems to me to be precisely the sort of wine least likely to woo a neophyte wine drinker, and least likely to be a good match for Chinese food.
But, at long last, I encountered a wine made from 100 per cent Chinese grapes that would surely be an absolutely perfect introduction to wine for anyone – such as the more than a billion Chinese who have, so far, never tasted it. And with its convincing core of fruit, easy grapiness and sizzling crispness, it would be a suitable foil for all manner of mild, spicy, sweet and sticky morsels destined for their chopsticks. The only trouble is that it is white, and therefore, in theory, of limited appeal to Chinese consumers.