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DWWA 2019: Chinese wines winning seven Gold medals awarded

www.decanterchina.com by Sylvia Wu24/06/2019  

Chinese wines in a variety of styles have won seven gold medals in the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), the world’s largest wine competition. Six out of the seven medals were awarded to Ningxia wines.

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‘This year the competition has seen a wealth of quality Chinese wines entered from across the country and in a variety of styles; white, rosé, sweet and red wines, ’ said Poh Tiong Ch’ng, the Regional Chair for Asia.

Notably, an Rkatsiteli 2017 from Puchang Vineyard of Turpan, Xinjiang was awarded one of the country’s seven gold medals.

The wine is made from 70% Rkatsiteli, a Georgia-originated variety and 30% Riesling.

‘Turpan and the surrounding Gobi desert has harsh, dry areas with extreme weather, where very little grows,’ Loris Tartaglia, winemaker of Puchang Vineyard, told DecanterChina.com, ‘and I found Rkatsiteli, a Georgian variety and a de facto local grape, with over 500 years of history in the region.’

The Italian winemaker, who joined Puchang from 2013, identified from the winery’s vineyards a microclimate at 1300 metres above sea level, where the Georgian variety could thrive and retain a balanced acidity.

Besides Rkatsiteli, the winemaker is also experimenting with Chinese domestic variety Beichun ‘for its strong structure’ and another native Georgian variety Saperavi ‘for the berry note’ in the Turpan region.

Another topical Gold Medal winner was a ‘Blanc de Noir’ Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Changyu Moser XV of Ningxia.

The inaugural 2016 vintage of this wine won a Bronze Medal in last year’s DWWA.

The 2018 vintage has ‘less alcohol, slightly higher acidity and still preserving the exotic fruit characters,’ said Lenz Moser, chief winemaker of Changyu Moser XV.

In addition, the latest vintage of this Blanc de Noir has ‘a bit more colour due to dry (weather) and small Ningxia Cabernet Sauvignon berries,’ the Austrian winemaker and consultant told DecanterChina.com.

Owned by China’s biggest wine producing company Changyu, Chateau Changyu Moser XV has been actively developing its international presence.

‘With a new generation of wineries, you will see many more Chinese wineries and wines take on the challenge of going global with us,’ added Moser.

Grace Vineyard’s Tasya’s Reserve Cabernet Franc 2016, produced from its plantings in the Helan Mountain East region of Ningxia, was awarded 96 points, highest of this year’s Chinese award winners.

Other Gold Medal-winning wines include Jia Bei Lan Reserve 2015 of Helan Qingxue Vineyard, Hyacinth 2017 of Jade Vintage Winery, Organic Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 of Ho-Lan Soul winery. Pernod Ricard’s Helan Mountain winery also won a Gold Medal with its Xiao Feng Chardonnay 2015.

A total of 265 Chinese wines were tasted at this year’s awards. As well as seven Golds, 40 have won a Silver Medal, continued improvement from the 30 Silvers in the 2018 awards.

Among the 120 Medal-winning (Bronze and above) Chinese wines, half came from Ningxia, 28 from Xinjiang, providing further evidence to the quality potential of the two upcoming fine wine regions.