Hu Yue will be a second wine to Long Dai, the Chinese ‘grand vin’ launched last year, said Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR Lafite).
It is a blend of three classic Bordeaux grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, plus also Marselan and Syrah, all from Domaine de Long Dai in Qiu Shan Valley in China’s north-east Shandong Province.
Hu Yue 2018 will be the first vintage released, at CY988 per bottle including sales tax (£108, US$143), or CY888 for winery club members. It will only be sold at the estate and via the winery’s WeChat account.
The move deepens the group’s commitment to producing high quality wines in China, having spent around a decade trialling and perfecting its winemaking operations there.
Marselan in the spotlight
Sylvia Wu, editor of Decanter China, said it was interesting to see Marselan in the Hu Yue blend.
‘This crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache originated in France and is deemed by many new-generation, Chinese winemakers as China’s future signature grape.’
Wu added, ‘The late-ripening variety features big fruit bunches, small berries and good resistance to diseases. It tends to create aromatic red wines of deep colour and mellow tannins.’
Olivier Trégoat, technical director for Long Dai plus several other DBR Lafite estates, said, ‘To create this second wine, the team in Shandong carefully chose an assortment of plots within our more than 400 terraces.’
‘The objective was to reveal a deeply aromatic character, full of black fruits with a spicy signature that would differentiate this wine from our grand vin.’
The wine was aged for 12 months in oak barrels, produced by the DBR Lafite cooperage.
Why ‘Hu Yue’?
Saskia de Rothschild, DBR Lafite chairwoman, said the idea was to reference the ‘sacred alliance between Chinese culture, respect for the elements and nature’s uncontrollable cycle’.
She added, ‘What better character than “Hu”, [which] refers to a jade tablet that was an important tool used in ancient times by farmers to pray for a good harvest.’
Hu also recalls the symbol of the tiger, ‘the second sacred animal in China’, said the group. The term ‘hu po’ also means amber, which has cultural importance in the country, it said.
The group said that ‘Yue’ represents ‘all of the five sacred mountains of China and links back to the sacred Mount Dai referenced in the name of the estate’.