Asia has emerged as a surprise winner at the Decanter World Wine Awards as the competition publishes its 2011 results today.
While China makes headlines on a regular basis for its unslakeable thirst for blue-chip Bordeaux, it is less well-known as a wine producer.
This year at the Decanter World Wine Awards panels handed Chinese wine producers one of the highest awards – the Red Middle East, Far East & Asia over £10 Trophy for a 2009 Bordeaux blend called Jia Bei Lan from He Lan Qing Xue in Ningxia province.
Judges said the wine was ‘supple, graceful and ripe but not flashy’ and praised its ‘excellent length and four-square tannins’.
The same winery won a Silver for its 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, while another Chinese winery, Domaine Helan Mountain in Xinjiang Uygur, won Silver for its Classic Chardonnay 2008 and Bronze for its Premium Collection Riesling.
As panel chair Ch’ng Poh Tiong says in his introduction in the Awards issue of Decanter magazine (out in September), ‘The Decanter World Wine Awards 2011 was a golden harvest for Middle East, Far East and Asia.
‘India and China remain winemaking countries with their doors and windows completely wide open to all sorts of competing ideas – both outside and inside the country.’
Not only did China pick up medals but Japan, India and Thailand were won Silvers and Golds.
India’s Sula Vineyard won silver for its Sauvignon Blanc from Nashik near Mumbai and Japan’s Chateau Mercian in Nagano won Silver for its Hokushin Chardonnay and Bronze for its Niitsuru Chardonnay.
And also in Japan, Grace Wine won Silver for its Koshu Kayagatake. Ch’ng Poh Tiong says the ‘super lean and uber fresh’ Koshu, or Kyushu, is ‘one of the most interesting, and least known, varieties in the world’ and Yamanashi, where Grace wine is based, ‘is probably its most famous area of cultivation.’
Lastly the Granmonte winery in southern-central Thailand won Silver medals for its Heritage Syrah and Asoke Cabernet Sauvignon.
See the full Decanter World Wine Awards 2011 results
Written by Adam Lechmere