Robert Parker Wine Advocate’s China: Fine Wine 2021 report Highlights Progressive Estates and Increased Diversity of Wines in Its Second Year

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 15
February 2022 – Everything in China moves quickly, and that includes its
nascent modern wine industry. The inaugural China: Fine Wine 2020 report by the Robert Parker Wine
Advocate
team that reviewed over 100 wines was the first comprehensive
resource of Chinese wines, which has led to increasing recognition overseas in
the past year. The newly released China:
Fine Wine 2021
report has expanded its scope to cover 27 producers of note
making outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character, from the
coastal Shandong province to the soaring heights of Yunnan’s valleys.

Shuori’s
Terraced Vineyards (left) and Ao Yun Winery in Adong Village (right)

“Chinese wine
consumers over the past years have increased their appetite for fine wines and for locally produced wines, which in turn have seen the quality
of Chinese wines significantly improving with the development of passionate and
innovative domains and winemakers,” says Nicolas Achard,
Chief Executive Officer of Robert Parker Wine Advocate. “In its 44-year
history, Robert Parker Wine Advocate has built its reputation on providing
unbiased, in-depth coverage of wines from all wine growing regions around the
world, a position we are excited to continue with our trail-blazing coverage of
wines from China for the discovery of a new generation of wine lovers around
the world.”

The China: Fine Wine 2021 report is
helmed by China reviewer Edward Ragg, Master of Wine (MW), who has been
actively tasting Chinese wines since moving to Beijing in 2007 with his wife,
Fongyee Walker MW. In the course of preparing the China: Fine Wine 2021 report,
he made regional visits and conducted interviews with
winemakers/viticulturalists to widen the scope of reviews since the 2020
report.

Highlights of Robert Parker Wine
Advocate’s
China: Fine Wine 2021 report


The First 95-Pointer

Congratulations
to winemaker Maxence Dulou and viticulturalist Remi Vincent and their teams on
achieving the highest-rated wine in China. 2021 is the first time a score of 95
points has been awarded to a Chinese wine—for the 2018 Ao Yun, for which there
are two reviews: one where the 2018 vintage was tasted in the high-altitude
village of Adong and another tasted much closer to sea level, in Beijing, where
the high quality of the 2018 Ao Yun was confirmed.

Ao
Yun’s yet-to-be-released Village Cru wines—also from the compelling 2018
vintage—show the particular importance of Shuori Village (with its beautiful
series of terraced sites) not only for what it contributes to Ao Yun’s grand vin
in terms of that blend but also its capacity to make fine wine solely from its
own vineyards. Ao Yun’s 2018 Shuori Village Cru is entirely deserving of its 94-point
rating.


Strong Vintages in 2019 in Helan
Shan

As local and international audiences are still
getting to know China’s wine-growing terroir, Edward Ragg’s vintage reports are
helping consumers to decide which wines to purchase. He notes that 2019 is an especially strong vintage in Ningxia’s Helan
Mountain area (Helan Shan), as shown by some of this last year’s wines that
achieved 94-point ratings, including Kanaan Winery’s 2019 Crazy Fang Cabernet
Sauvignon and Chateau Mihope’s 2019 10th Anniversary Release, along with many other deserving 2019 wines from this area.

●       Rise of
Independent Winemakers

China’s
best wines are not necessarily or solely emerging from highly resourced operations such as Ao Yun. Small-batch winemaker Ian Dai,
for example, has made one of China’s most
exciting modern reds in the form of his 2019 XiaoPu Naked Syrah Marselan (92 points). Dai is accompanied by Ma Jie (of the
Petit Mont label) in trying to discover
China’s best terroirs, making similarly small-batch wines using other wineries’ facilities. China really needs a younger
generation of progressive winemakers, and the
emergence of Dai, Jie and others is encouraging.

●       Varietal
Progression

As the
search for China’s signature grape continues, its winemakers are showing greater understanding of its grape varieties rather
than simply making more Cabernet
Sauvignon-based blends. Cabernet Franc is especially
strong now at Longting Winery (in Shandong’s Penglai) as well as from Ruwen and Yuandian (both in Ningxia’s Helan Shan). Merlot
has a bright future: notable Merlots come not
just from Chapter & Verse (in Hebei’s Huailai) but also now from Jade Vineyard (Ningxia). Malbec looks promising in
Ningxia, given the progress that Xige and others have made with the variety.

●       Wider
Styles of Experimentation

China
is also showing greater adventurousness—at least in the hands of a small number of progressive producers—in terms of wine styles and
experimentation. While this was a feature of
2020, the scope appears to have widened since then. Highlights include Grace Vineyard’s 2012 Angelina Brut Reserve Blanc de Blanc (the country’s best traditional
method sparkling), Yuandian’s skin-contact
Amphora Riesling and
Swiss winemaker Yves Roduit’s Canticle to the Land (Yunnan): this latter matured in traditional Yunnanese clay pots.
Even the tiny pink wine category has seen a
worthy addition in the shape of Longting’s 2019 Art Series Summer Rosé (92 points) that is made with Cabernet Franc
and has picked up some awards at international
competitions.

The top 10 scoring wines from Robert Parker Wine Advocate’s China Wine
Report 2021 are:

1.
2018 Ao Yun, Diqing, Yunnan (95 points)

2.
2019 Chateau Mihope The 10th Anniversary Limited
Release Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah, Helan Shan, Ningxia (94 points)

3.
2019 Kanaan Winery Crazy Fang Cabernet
Sauvignon, Helan Shan, Ningxia (94 points)

4.
2018 Silver Heights Emma’s Reserve, Helan Shan,
Ningxia (94 points)

5.
2018 Ao Yun Shuori Village Cru, Diqing, Yunnan
(94 points)

6.
2018 Grace Vineyard Ningxia Flagship, Helan
Shan, Ningxia (93 points)

7.
2015 Canaan Winery Chapter and Verse Reserve
Merlot, Huailai, Hebei (93 points)

8.
2018 Shangri-La Sacred Land Cabernet Sauvignon,
Diqing, Yunnan (93 points)

9.
2019 Longting Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Franc,
Penglai, Shandong (93 points)

10. 2016 Jade
Vineyard Messenger Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Helan Shan, Ningxia (93 points)

The full,
detailed report and tasting notes of 171 of the best wines in China is
available on www.robertparker.com. A
complimentary one-month trial subscription is available to all new visitors.

 

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