Chinese wines in Buckingham Palace?

No it’s not an April fool. Published last week in Britain.

From the Guardian, UK

The British Queen’s vintner has become the first major UK retailer to give the Chinese wines a permanent place on its shelves.

Berry Brothers & Rudd, which has a shop and cellars near St James’s Palace, will begin selling four Chinese wines this month and for the first time Chinese vintages will be showcased at one of the retailer’s exclusive tastings, at which masters of wine and senior wine writers gather to sample new arrivals.

The four wines are produced by the leading producer Chateau Changyu, and includes a cabernet sauvignon, merlot blend (which has been aged in imported French oak barrels) and three more unusual ice wines – made from frozen grapes, which give the wines a fresh and pure flavour, and an intense sweetness. The producer – the Changyu Wine Group – is the oldest and biggest in the country and makes the wine in central western China on the edge of the Gobi desert.

China has a long history of winemaking but it has in the past struggled for credibility with its wealthy native wine drinkers favouring imports from France and Australia.

Chinese producers got a boost last year in the prestigious International Wine Challenge, when nine wines received some form of recognition, including a silver medal.

What the Guardian doesn’t say, is whether any of the wines being sold by the Queen’s vintner (to the Queen and other wealthy individuals) have won anything, so I am assuming they have not. And how much they might cost. A King’s ransom? A princely sum? This begs the question of whether there is a little bit of diplomacy going here between Britain and a massive Chinese corporation, and therefore China. The UK government does like to do that kind of thing; courting the business rather than considering the content. We did it with Colonal Gadaffi for a few years.

Our very own small scale producer, Silver Heights winemaker, Emma Gao, has blistering wine making skills and has produced consistently amazing results in both the Family Reserve (left) and The Summit (right: that one, only available from our longlist). Now these are wines which are gaining international plaudits and awards. Last year (August 2012) Silver Heights Family Reserve won Best Chinese Red wine.

here’s what we said just 7 months ago:

Silver Heights Family Reserve, which we have raved about for 12 months (and the only Chinese wine available on this site) is now recognised as the winner of Best Chinese Red Wine title at the recent Annual Wine Challenge (Shanghai Hilton Hotel). Limited in stock and competing with the best the Old World has in this bracket, demand looks set to sky-rocket. At last this wine has been recognised for what it is by the great and the good. In the current edition of City Weekend magazine (August 9 -22, 2012) they report this wine as the Best Chinese Wine Red Winner at the 3rd Annual Wine Challenge (@Shanghai Hilton).

Good to know LWwines is still ahead of the curve at picking winning wines. Well done those customers who got in and ordered this when it was initially offered earlier in the 2012, and secured their allocations before the now inevitable price rise, and congratulations to those who were lucky enough to try it at one of our private parties, alongside other great wines from around the globe…

When we have Silver Heights in stock, it flies out generally to the first likely customer we talk with about it; often UK connoisseurs, as it happens; but also increasingly, Middle class Chinese: and when they buy, they tend to buy all my stock.


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