Greetings from Beijing,
When ampelographer Paul Truel
in 1961, I doubt he imagined it would one day emerge as "China's grape". But as with Malbec
in Argentina, Shiraz
in Australiaz, and others, this looks increasingly likely. On top of that, Marselan is found in over 20 other nations
For these reasons, I launched World Marselan Day
today. It's set for April 27
, Truel's birth date, but the site will provide a source of Marselan info year-round. More details below.
You'll also find more about Ningxia's secret ingredient, winemaker Zhou Shuzhen
, who has 30-plus years of experience, including at Kanaan
and Legacy Peak
. About the dope Amethyard
wine at a recent boutique tasting in Beijing. And about Jade Vineyard
, yet another contender from Ningxia.
Also, there have been quite a few mentions of Grape Wall in the media lately, including in New York Times
. All of that is posted here
As always, much appreciated if you pass this newsletter to others who might like it. And if you would like to support this project, see here
Cheers, Jim Boyce
| grapewallofchina (at) gmail.com
, a grape created by Paul Truel
in 1961, took some to mature. Any hopes the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon and yields and heat tolerance of Grenache would result in an instantly popular grape were dashed. It took until the 1990s, and an increasing focus on quality over quantity, for this grape to grab momentum.
Now it is found in more than 20 countries, from Argentina
, from Serbia
, from Chile
, including all of the country's key wine-producing regions. The World Marselan Day
website lists many of those wines, with bottle shots, as well as info on Paul Truel and the grape Marselan.
I understand there are many grape days, but I think they work for varieties with an intriguing and unfolding story to tell. That is certainly the case with Marselan. And certainly when it comes to CHina.
The goal on April 27
is simply to open a bottle of Marselan and raise a glass to Truel. If you do, please send me a photo so I can include it on the site! I'll also organize a Marselan event in Beijing that day.
When the wine world talks of Ningxia wine, the most likely names to pop up include Emma Gao
at Silver Heights
(银色高地), Zhang Jing
at Helan Qing Xue
(贺兰晴雪) and Wang “Crazy” Fang
(迦南美地). They ooze personality, are fluent in English, and make good wines. But there are many others who have played key roles and are little-known beyond non-Chinese language circles. Ranking high among them is winemaker Zhou Shuzhen
(周淑珍). More about Zhou here
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! Fortunately, the wine is good. More on this operation, which further underscores the strengths of the Huailai region, here
Finally, Ningxia operation Jade Vineyard
. I tried three of the wines with new rep Yanan Hao
, who I know best from Nine Peaks
in Shandong--that place inspired one of my favorite posts
. A quick look at the Chardonnay and two Cabernet-driven wines here