When it comes to wine, China is arguably no Napa or Bordeaux, but its recent unveiling could bring its wine-making prowess to the spotlight or at least save it a sweet spot on the luxury wine map. Indeed, LVMH’s new red blend from the Middle Kingdom is what Bloomberg’s Elin McCoy describes as “the best China I’ve yet sampled”.
The bottle, labeled “Ao Yun”, translates to “roaming above the clouds”. The development of Ao Yun has been conceptualized since 2009, when Moet Hennessy CEO Christophe Navarre expressed his interest in establishing a region in China for wine-making. Navarre sought the help of Australian enologist Tony Jordan, where years were spent searching throughout China for the “best terroir”.
Whilst some regions seemed too cold, and others too wet, the Northwestern Yunnan Province proved just right. Given the altitude, the climate made for a perfect environment to grow and make wine. Of course, limited sunlight proved a special challenge, given that sunlight was only available from late-morning to mid-afternoon, for as little as four hours. Jean-Guillaume Prats, president of Moet Hennessy’s Estates and Wines division, told Bloomberg that the process was a little bit like “slow cooking”.
“Sunlight over a longer period of time creates intensity and tannins that are very, very silky,” he said.
The wine itself is a blend of 90 percent cabernet sauvignon and 10 percent cabernet franc, offering a ripe sort of fruitiness; dark with a powerful, spicy tang. There seems a hint of licorice with a smooth, silky body. Only 24,000 bottles of Ao Yun are in existence, and each sells for $250.