(From our correspondent to Yinchuan, Alessandra Piubello). China has some fundamental assets in wine industry: the surface with vineyard is the second in the world (847’000 hectars), it’s the seventh wine producer in the world , it’s the fifth consumer country (17.3 millions hectoliters in 2016) and fifth in volumes of import ( 16,4 millions hectoliters in 2016). This way China will become in 2021 the second country importer of wine by value. The wine consumers in China (50 millions people) are young, for bigger part are women, who tend to make purchases on-line and to drink wine at home.
But how are wines produced in China? The impression is that Chinese wines are still looking for their identity. At the moment, they look up to Bordeaux and they try to re-create that style.
In general, it’s not easy to produce wine in China and the producers still have a lot to learn, in particular about vineyards management. Seems like they are careful about what happens in the winery, and then in the vineyard, but, they’re understanding how important it is to find the right soil for the right variety of grapes. More common trait it’s the wines lightness usually (they tend to be) not very structured, but often overpowered by an invasive wood, not very alcoholic, with soft tannins and moderate acidity, even if they are usually a little bit herbal.
This was the first tasting of Chinese wines made by an Italian journal at the recent “Belt&Road Wine Competition” of Yinchuan.
1. Jiabeilan 2015 (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Gernischt) Hean Qingxue Vineyard (Ningxia). Elegant, intense, it develops straight with a modulation of flavours in an expansion cadenced by the security of a well-defined elegance, until the long finale.
2. Pushang Marselan 2016 Yinchuan Pushang (Ningxia). Aromatic herbs, licorice and smoked notes. Spicy also at the taste, it has a finale with a strong flavour.
3. Snow Pearl Ice Wine (100% Vidal) 2017 Jilin Wantong Winery (Jilin). A cup full of suggestion, net profile and vibrant intensity with spicy touches that envelop the fruity notes. Intriguing, but without sight of definition and expressive clarity.
4. Lan Cui 2012 (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot) Lilan Winery (Ningxia). The stylistic element blows in harmonious elegance, with a balanced tannic waive. Stands out for the graceful counterweight.
5. Lux Regis L7 2014 (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) Leirenshou (Ningxia). Designed according to a well-studied aenological thought. Well recorded tannins and inviting pleasantness of drinking.
6. Pretty Pony 2014 (90% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Merlot) Kanaan Winery (Ningxia). Very complex nose, ample in the aromas of spices and menthol notes. The mouth is well  structured, long and sapid in closing.
7. Farsight (Cabernet Sauvignon 100%) 2011 Château Ningxia Saint Louis Ding (Ningxia). The development is graceful, suffused and elegant. Graceful sip, delicate in touch with minute and soft tannic.
8. Aria Reserve 2015 (Cabernet Sauvignon 100%) Jade Vineyard (Ningxia). Tense and balanced, it has vigor and a full -respect persistence.
9. Bacchus (Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, Merlot 20%, Syrah 10%) 2016 (Ningxia). Pleasant, relaxed and on-scratchy mouth. He will manifest the most complex and profound features of his temperament with time.
10. Niya 2015 (Cabernet Sauvignon 100%) Citic Guoan Wine Industry (Xinjiang). Slight vegetal sensation, not indifferent tannic force that brings out an extraction from the oak. The wine has persistence but the smell of the oak hide the fruits.
(translation by Rocco Fattori Giuliano)