Quaffs: Chinese Wine – Grace Vineyard

Did you know that China is the 2nd largest grape-producing country in the world after Italy? ¬†Come to think of it, there’s lots of sun-dried sultanas from Xinjiang Province! ūüėČ

And for those in Hong Kong, do you remember that red wines were served with ice-cubes Рyes, with ice-cubes Рmaybe 15 years ago??  Cringe you may, but yes, you were once country-bumpkins too!

Anywaz, I was invited to a wine tasting event organised by an investment fund company.  There were over a hundred wines and hard liquors to sample, but I was intrigued by a Chinese wine producer so decided to spend my liquor quota there.  Grace Vineyard was founded in 1997 by a Chinese man, C.K Chan together with his French friend, Sylvain Janvier in Shanxi province. Their first vintage was produced in 2001.  The wine emulates the French Bordeaux style, with the first vine cuttings imported from Bourdeaux, France.

Deep Blue is the company’s flagship wine. ¬†Bright, clear crimson-purple with 74% cabernet sauvignon, 21% merlot and 5% cabernet franc, the wine has clear expression of red and black currant fruits. ¬†It has been matured in French oaks – and maybe a bit tannic/oaky for some. ¬†Light and medium-bodied, and very quaffable.

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Grace Vineyard Deep Blue

Grace Vineyard with Torres, ‚ÄėSymphony Series‚Äô is a white wine. ¬†It is a ‘beginner’s table-wine’. ¬†Aromatic with melons, peaches and light floral notes; it is refreshing with crisp acidity but ‘too flat’¬†¬†for me… akin to a cheap Jacob Creek’s table wine…

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Grace Vineyard with Torres, ‚ÄėSymphony Series‚Äô

Voted one of the Top Wines from China, Grace Vineyard’s Chairman’s Reserve is a lighter-styled Bourdeaux. ¬†It has clear bright medium ruby colour. ¬†The nose is predominately youthful plum fruits, red cherry, ripe blackcurrants with noticeable toasted oak scents. There is some¬†herbaceous blackcurrant leaf combined with a medicinal aromas too. This wine is still developing – to be enjoyed in¬†perhaps ¬†4-5¬†years time?

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Grace Vineyard Chairman’s Reserve (HKD350)

Interested to know more? ¬†Check out the wine interview by ‘Nicely Made In China’ with Judy Leissner, the CEO of Grace Vineyard, daughter of the owner, here.

Quaffs: Portugese Wines – Casa Ferreirinha

We¬†celebrated a¬†friend’s¬†birthday a while back. The birthday gal chose a dinner party at Casa Lisboa, a Portuguese restaurant in LKF, Hong Kong. ¬†Since this is a¬†Portugese restaurant, the wine menu has a¬†few pages of Portugeuse wines. ¬†Well, for the uninitiated, Portuguese wines uses different wine varietals – so it’s not like ordering a merlot, cab sav or shiraz!

So high time to take out my wine tasting notes from my wine masterclass!

Casa Ferreirinha is the producer of¬†the iconic Barca Velha ‚Äď one of the most prestigious still wine in Portugal, as well as one of the rarest wines from the Douro Valley ¬†(akin to Grange from Penfold’s in Oz!).

The Douro Valley in Northern Portugal is one of the most beautiful wine region in the world.   The grandiose landscape of the steep-terraced vineyards valley is upheld by the schist mountains Рimagine an unpolished granite mountain rising above the majestic ribbon of water (Douro River) far below.

An interesting thing to note about Portuguese wines is that they are all blended wines from  3,4 or 7 wine varietals.  There is no single varietal.   This is to ensure the continuity of the wine production in case a vine of single varietal fails.

Casa Ferreirinha Planalto White Reserva has a bright hue with greenish hints.  Slight minerally notes with bursts of citrus and white fruits (melon and pear) which gives a clean, refreshing palate in a long delicate finish.

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Planalto White Reserva

CF Vinha Grande White also has a bright yellow hue with greenish hints.  There is a prevalence of white fruits such as pear and melon on the nose as well as a discreet french oak bouquet with floral tea accents.  A white of fine acidity and structure, finishing long and complex.

Best with: Bigger more flavoursome dishes e.g. Fish Bacalao or Chicken with cream

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Vinha Grande White

Vinho Tinto =¬†¬†Red Wine (in Portuguese)¬†ūüėČ

The main varietal in CF Esteva Tinto is Tempranillo with 35% Tinta Roriz.  

It is a fruity raspberry plum wine with a nose of floral violets. ¬†It is a popular wine and can be found everywhere in Portugal. ¬†It is best drunk young. ¬†I love¬†the¬†gentle attack on the palate and especially its nose. ¬†Of lower price point but without compromising on fine structure and quality tannins. ¬†This is¬†definitely a highly recommended quaff!¬†ūüĎć

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Esteva

CF Vinha Grande Tinto was first released in 1960s.  It has 35% Touriga Franca.

Deep ruby hue with an intense bouquet of mulberry and red currant.  It has floral notes of rock rose supported by cedar and tobacco.  This is a plummy wine with discreet oak.  It has undergone stainless steel fermentation then aged in French oak for 12 months ensuring a lively acidity and long firm finish.  Ready to drink in 4-5 years and can be cellared for up to 10 years.

Best with: Meat, cheese, flavoursome pasta

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Vinha Grande

In 1997, the company introduced a new wine into the market : CF Quinta da Leda Tinto.  It is made from 50% Touriga Nacional (the best varietal in Portugal), 10% Tinta Roriz for structure, 40% Franca. It has an intense ruby hue with a palate of ripe red fruits of strawberries and raspberries.  The complex bouquet has a prevalence of floral notes especially violet.  Obvious oaky tannins ensuring a long harmonious finish and longetivy.

Best with: Duck

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Quinta da Leda