AWW Episode 4
Post By: Richard Smith on 03/17/2009
After a brief (thankfully) stop in Hungary, we whipped back to China this week to sample another bottle of Great Wall 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon. The last time we did this, the wine had corked, turned, soured, whatever...it sucked. But THIS time, things were different. The wine showed the same Bordeaux-like qualities I had experienced previously and was generally well received.
Jamie noted the wine's redness (i think he was kidding), Derrick appreciated its intensely fruity nose, I found a little leather, and the everyone recognized the somewhat dry, astringent mouthfeel. Nobody guessed it was a Cabernet though but that is not really surprising as this wine tastes like a blend. And given the lack of regulation in China, it probably is. The question is, what is it blended with? Merlot? Cabernet Franc? Pineapple juice? Overall, the group appreciated the wine with 4 out of 5 liking it.
As a follow up, we headed south to Galilee in Israel where we sampled a Yarden 2006 Muscat from Golan Heights Winery which is one of the most interesting wines I've tasted recently. While all of us recognized the wine's overwhelming aroma, none of us could put a name to it. The best we could come up with was something like a honey peach and grapefruit smoothie. I know that sounds disgusting but I actually liked it, although most of the others unfortunately failed to recognize its unique charms. Other than that the wine was really sweet, as you might expect from a Muscat, although it did not overwhelm the wine. Overall, 2 out of 5 "I Like It"s.
At the end of the tasting, I corked the remains of both bottles and left them overnight. And today, after a very cold round of golf, a buddy and I cracked them open and finished them off with interesting results.
The Great Wall Cabernet had softened measurably, losing much of its initial astringency. Now, my experience of wines is generally limited to those designed for immediate consumption and priced accordingly so I know very little about wines designed for aging. However, my impression is that this wine, already 6 years old, would possibly improve with even more aging. I could be, and probably am, wrong. The Muscat had not changed a bit which is not really a surprise I guess for such a sweet wine.
Winery: COFCO Huaxia Great Wall Wine Co., Ltd.
Region: ChinaChangli, Hebei?
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Winery: Golan Heights Winery
Next, it's back to Eastern Europe...wwhheeeeee