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NingXia Wine Tour: tasting notes

Silver Heights

Chardonnay 2014

Cool climate type. Simple citrus, peach, floral. Vivid fruit-very simple though.

Silver Heights, The Summit 2013

Classic Bordeaux Blends. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot. Alcohol 14%. Vintage 2013 is from a hot year- yields are low. Colours are bright deep ruby with garnet rim. This wine opens with a bouquet full of ripe red berry and plum fruit, and sweet spice. The full-bodied mouth feel is well structured with great balance between fruit character and hints of oak. Fine textured with supple tannins, it ends with a fresh, fruity finish. Adequate length. Seems to set a good impression of Xing Xia red wines.

Silver Heights, Family Reserve 2013

Bordeaux Left Bank style. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 Merlot; 30% new French oak, 70% used French oak. Compare to The Summit 2013, it has more sweet spice, more forward black fruit. Full bodied, riper tannins. A little muted fruit palate; finish is just of medium length. Will show more colours in 2 years’ time. Really not bad at all.

Pernod Ricard

Chardonnay 2013

Citrus, wood tannins spice. Oaky. Medium length. Still evolving. Fruit is upfront. Up to commercial requirement.

Chardonnay 2014 Special Reserve

More stone fruit. Citrus, peach. Linear acidity. Strong mid plate. Technical wine: whole bunch press, handpicked grapes, batonnage. A bit champagne feel. Lots of potential.

Chardonnay 2015

Very closed. Green apple. Low acid. A baby.

Merlot 2013

Deep ruby, Pink rim. Pure dark fruit, firm tannins, simple, medium finish. Fruit is still forward.

Cabernet 2013

Deep ruby, purple rim. Ripe as if it nose like Rowntree blackcurrant pastilles, stalky plate, stemmy, green tannins. Medium Length. Fruit quality could improve.

Xiao Feng Block 5 2013 Reserve

Icon wine; top wine. Some 95+% Cabernet Sauvignon, with a dash of Merlot. Ripe and concentrated fruit, dense palate, round tannins. Oaky. Forward fruit and round-Modern. You almost can feel the care to the plants. Not extracted. Long Length. Excellent fruit quality. This is the second vintage-this wine seems to have lots of future. Made by the Australians, this wine is what I called ‘Chinoiserie’-a special sense of place, mix of modernity and backwardness. Perhaps this is the testament to that Good Wine Starts from Good Planting.


Chardonnay 2013

Dry fruited (dry lemons), crisp, oxidative tones. Intense mid palate, light bodied. Lack fruit. Bitter finish. Below commercial standard.

Pinot Noir 2013

Expressive varietal characters-strawberries, cherries tones- and is quite concentrated too. Soft tannins, strong mid-palate, medium bodied, friendly like Beaujolais. Structured though Four-squared. Can’t complain ; can’t compliment either.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Classic Bordeaux Left Bank blending like 80% Cabernet and 20% Merlot. Very deep colour, pink rim. Fresh dark fruit, bodied, strong, firm tannins. Nose expensive oak. On the right track.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Same composition as 2014. Pronounced blackcurrant, ripe and concentrated dark fruit. Spicy, tamed tannins, long velvety finish. Not bad. Pretty good.


Chandon Brut NV

Classic Non-Vintage Champagne blend: 80% Chardonnay and 30 % Pinot Noir. Less than 10% reserve base wine, 15% of the base wine using Malolactic fermentation. Vines are young like less than 10 years old. The result is a correct sparkling with simple fruit: Citrus, green apples, refreshing acidity. Slightly bitter finish with hint of plastic tones.

Chandon Rose Brut NV

Sexy, pale onion colour. Vivid, red fruited(wild strawberries and cherries), and savoury mid palate. Intense and balanced red fruit. Good and fine bubbles. Reasonably fruit and good enough. Good cost performance. Can compete with entry level Processco and Cava.

Day Long

This seemed to be a drinking party more than a tasting. Or was that intended as a blind tasting? Owner Mr Chan’s Chinese style hospitality seemed to melt our sanity. Wines seemed to have arranged not in the usual order (from young to aged, from white to red, from commercial to connoisseur). This tasting seemed to be a twist-very interesting. Unfortunately I only have wine in numbers.

Red Wine 1. Black plummy fruit. Intense. High alcohol. Sweet spicy tannins. Woody. Full bodied. Long finish. Brooding.

Red Wine 2. Nose like sweet and sour soup to start. As we drink a long, it changes a lot, forming tertiary tones of leather, mushrooms, and herbs behind blackcurrant fruits . Firm, fine tannins with a medium finish. Elegant.

Red Wine 3. Deep ruby colour with tight pick rim. Full bodied, spicy, firm tannins. Sweet ripe fruit. Closed.

White Wine 4. Mr Chan seemed to understand our palates were tired and were thirsty. He quenched us with an ‘Italian styled Riesling’, which seemed to serve the purpose: floral, apply, crisp, intense and well-made for the class. Quite a twist.

Red Wine 5. Very reductive, earthy red with Sweet fruit, ripe tannins, very spicy. Fruit not expressive on palate. With wine Faults?

Red Wine 6. Vivid sour cherries and other red fruit. Quite ripe. Quite elegant though.

Red Wine 7. Sweet oak-vanillin. Ripe dark fruit, plummy and soft tannins. Simple.

Legacy Peaks

Chardonnay 2014

Intense citrus, peach, and hints of tropical fruit. Spicy and creamy finish. Youthful and structured. Intense palate. Seemed 100% new oak. Partial oak fermentation. Still raw, Meursault style. Balanced alcohol. Well made. Long finish. Good.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Full spectrum taste(from black currant fruit, violets, licorice, dark chocolates. Big and fine tannins. Linear acidity. A Big wine. Delicious.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

As full spectrum in tastes as 2014, albeit with riper blackberry fruit, slightly higher alcohol, riper tannins, sweet oak, tobacco, intense fruit, and even Longer finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Full spectrum as vintage 2013, more licorice, linear and crisp acidity. More pronounced oak. Full bodied.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Family Reserve

Minty and chocolate. Rich and dense black fruit, sweet oak, sandalwood, smoky, quite velvety. Acidity rounded up, and well integrated. Long palate. A very big wine. Good.

Great Wall Chateau Yumo

Italian Riesling 2012

Refreshing and style. Green fruit: plums, apples. Crisp. ABV13.5%

Rose 2012

Sexy salmon colour. Expressive cherries, shan-jai, peachy tones. Very easy wine. Simple; short length; slightly bitter finish. Nicely balanced overall, despite a high ABV 14.5%! 100% from Cinsault.

Cabernet Franc 2013

Conditioned with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Light red fruit of lower intensity. High alcohol and was able to be balanced by the acidity. Some plastic tones; not much texture. Simple.

Helan Qingxue Winery, Jiabeilan

Chardonnay 2014

Pretty balanced and quite lively. Green fruited: green apples and citrus. Bonbon, bubble gums tones.

Rose Cabernet Franc 2013

Lively, sweet cherry fruit and plum fruit. Nice intensity. Well balanced.

Red 2013

60% Cabernet and 40% Merlot. Dry black fruit, dusty, leathery, licoriced, high alcohol. Full spectrum of palate from black fruit to savoury mid palate. Long finish.

Red 2013, top cuvee

85% Cabernet Sauvignon 15% Merlot. Riper black fruit, higher fruit intensity, polished tannins. Raw wood and still bitterness which need to be reconciled in years of evolution ahead. Cool minty and dark chocolate finish. Long finish. Well made.


Riesling 2013

Foursquare. Classic nose profile, which is floral, green apples, peach. citrusy aftertaste; Linear acidity. Refreshing and easy to drink. ABV 12%.

Riesling 2014

Fruit profile not as defined as 2013. Bubbles at the base of the glass, hazy. Lifted acidity, quite neutral in taste and balanced. Savory finish.

White Blend 2014

5 grapes are blended. Floral, youthful, fruity, spice. Off dry. Commercial, thirst quencher, easy to drink style. Germanic-fruity finish. Not bad.

Pretty Pony 2013

90% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% merlot. ABV14%. Pungent, full expression of varietal character, with violets/lavender tones.. Ripe berries, slight chocolaty palate. Quite elegant finish.

Crazy Fang 2011

70% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Merlot. 14% ABV. High quality and pure/ripe dark fruit. Fine tannins. Plummy and spicy oak finish. Big wine. Very long. Good.

Domaine des Aromes

Aromes 2013

80% Cabernet Sauvignon 20% Merlot. Unoaked. Intense, Pure blackcurrant fruit, fine tannins, sandalwood tones. Excellent round fruit walk parallel with the layered spice to the end. Pretty good. Even better acidity plays a stronger role in support the palate structure. Quite a special wine.

Red 2013

Same composition, but with 14 month French oak(70% new 30% old). Denser fruit, Very integrated oak tannins. Hints of cream and vanilla. Long finish. Well made. Can become a show wine.

100% Cabernet. No oak. Fresh red fruits-cherries, and plums. Juicy finish. Vivid. Some distance to go before becoming a good commercial wine.

Chanyu Moser

Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Red 2013% Cabernet and 30% merlot. Simple cherry and red berry nose soft, balanced wine.

ChangYU Red 2009

80% Cabernet sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Syrah. 15% ABV. Big red fruit, firm structure, tight tannin, mixed oak. No surprise; can’t complain. Foursquare. But where is the Chinoiserie?

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