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Lafite: Chinese vineyard was considered 15 years ago

Following the announcement of its new Chinese estate, the head of Domaines Baron Rothschild (DBR) has told decanter.com the company had been considering a move to the country for 15 years.

Christophe Salin, the CEO of DBR, said their first dossier on China was started ‘around 15 years ago’. Talks with the Chinese had started in earnest in 2006.

‘You have to take your time with these things,’ he said.

The new estate, which remains nameless, is unlikely to produce wine for several years. Salin said geographical excavations would take place prior to planting grapes – expected to begin next year. He said the terroir was mainly schist, very dry, with poor soil on good elevation with good drainage. The estate is located in the peninsula of Penglai in Shandong province – one of China’s most promising wine-growing regions.

Although he was reluctant to state which varieties would be planted on the 25ha estate, he was adamant they would be red.

‘In the meantime, we’ll do some tests with local varieties,’ he added.

The style of wine produced will be traditional, said Salin, and would sit within the stable of DBR wines that, as well as Chateaux Lafite (Pauillac), l’Evangile (Pomerol) and Rieussec (Sauternes) in Bordeaux, include Los Vascos in Chile and Caro in Argentina.

‘It will be our style, adapted to local conditions,’ he said.

Written by Oliver Styles

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