Ao Yun Shangri-La 2013
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Grapes grown in ancient soil; a terroir steeped in history and tradition. A place that honours the quiet dignity of humans working at one with nature. A high plateau nestled among the Himalayan peaks, reaching for dreams in the sky, grounded by the hallowed earth. A wine shaped by generations of precious knowledge blended with forward-thinking, worldly attitudes.
Ao Yun means "flying above the clouds" or "roaming above the clouds." The name refers to the thick, wandering clouds of this incredible region and celebrates the birthplace of the legend of Shangri-La. Hidden paradise among the Himalayan Mountains. The vineyards are located just below the sacred Meili Mountain at altitudes soaring to 8,530 feet in height, to allow the Cabernet Sauvignon to give its finest expression of a unique terroir. Ao Yun is made from 314 blocks on 68.4ac of vineyards. All viniculture processes are conducted entirely by hand.
Ao Yun celebrates the visionary, the iconoclastic, the brave and the singular. Our continuous quest to reimagine what’s possible defines the very notion of luxury — extraordinary, exceptional and rare.
The wine world is vast and constantly expanding. With shifts in climate, fashion, trands and technology, new regions are constantly developing. Through research and experimentation enologists and winemakers continue to develop an understanding of which varieties work best on which vineyard sites. Often, since these regions have yet to gain worldwide popularity, they are great sources for the savvy consumer looking to try something new and interesting at a budget-friendly price.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
In the Glass
Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.