Ao Yun Shangri-La 2014
Intense, deep dark color. Multi-layer identity. We feel the spice with cinnamon/liquorice, the freshness with mint/cedar wood, the earth with leather/humus, the mineral with graphite/lead pencil and red fruit with cherry/black current. Dry, medium to full body the palate offers a long and polished tannic structure. Confirming the nose with a myriad of refreshing, fruity and mineral notes as peony, seaweed, wild black raspberry and graphite. Superb balance between minerality/acidity and sweetness/alcohol.
Pair with braised beef short ribs, black pepper beef ribeye
Blend: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc
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.
China’s wine regions are spread throughout the country. In terms of volume, China ranks among the world’s top 10 wine producing nations. Interest in wine (particularly red) is growing here, especially among the younger generations.
China’s most lauded appellation, Helan Mountain, on the border of the popular region of Ningxia, close to the Yellow River, is known for Cabernet blends. Ningxia as well as Shanxi are at higher elevations, receive a lot of sunshine and experience large diurnal temperature variation, ideal conditions for winegrowing. The humid, eastern coastal regions of Shangdong and Hebei Province are responsible for over half of China's yearly wine production. Here the key variety is called Cabernet Gernischt, which has proven to actually be Carmenere.
Though China has been producing wine from its own native varieties for 1,500 years, the industry didn’t gain any real inertia until the end of the 19th century when about 100 European varieties arrived. Today many international companies (Moet Hennessy, Remy Cointreau, Pernod Ricard, Torres and Barons de Rothschild) have a stake in the country’s wine scene. However, the Chinese government continues to invest, now exceeding foreign funding.
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.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. 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.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
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.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
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.