Zoltan Szabo

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By Zoltan Szabo

Greetings from Shanghai!

I was given a bottle of wine last night to taste blind by Alberto from Torres China.

It had a medium deep ruby-purple colour. Aromas of blueberries, field berries, pepper spice, floral, herbs, "royal" med-toast French oak and a mixture of campfire ash, earth, sweet game-musk and just a little and very "shy" nuance of grilled asparagus, dried tomato leaf. It was fairly light, medium minus bodied, medium alcohol, juicy with fresh acids and soft tannins. The finish was lingering. A balanced wine with all its elements in place and well integrated. Of course, I could not guess what and where it's from...! I said that "new world meets old world" about its style and that it could be anything from Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir to Cabernet Franc (I stated Chinon, in fact) and Lacrima di Morro d'Alba...! Well, it was the 2007 "The Summit" (proprietary name), a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Gernischt*, made by a brand new winery called Silver Heights located by the Hellan Mountain East Valley in the autonomous (muslim?) province of Ningxia of The People's Republic of China...a fairly hot and dry area when it comes to grape growing. Its maker, a young lady, Emma Gao, who worked as a training manager at Torres China in the past, one of China's very few Oenology Institute of Bordeaux University graduate, doing her stage at Lynch Bages.  Also found out that her boyfriend is the cellarmaster at Calon Segur.... No wonder she's using the same barrels!
So, this wine was made from 8 years old vines and aged in oak (new and neutral I would assume) for 10 months, and certainly is one of the better Chinese wines I've tasted so far! This red shows a lot of expertize and precision in making. So finely made (in within Chinese winemaking circumstances), gently pressed and macerated... just to extract a lovely colour and silky tannins without any harsh and off flavours...oaking handled well too...bravo!

It will be released in March, and allocated, there's 1,500 bottles of it made only! Comes in a Burgundy shaped, heavy, smoked glass bottle.
I will pour it at Osteria by-the-glass! Cheers!

*Cabernet Gernischt is a red wine grape variety used in China believed to be of European origin, and similar if not identical to Cabernet Franc. The name is believed to be a misspelling of the Cabernet Gemischt once used in Europe but now extinct. Supposedly exported to China from Europe, it was first used to make red wine there in 1892, and is still in production at present".





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