The French region of Bordeaux is synonymous with wine, but at a recent blind tasting in Beijing, wine from Bordeaux was ranked lower than wine from a northern region of China that began growing grapes for wine just 10 years ago.
A group of wine experts came together for a blind tasting in Beijing recently and sampled a selection of five wines from Bordeaux and five wines from Ningxia, a northern Chinese territory that has been growing grapes for wine production for only 10 years. The contest consisted of wines that were produced in 2008 or 2009 and all were priced between $30 and $40 per bottle.
A cabernet sauvignon from the Grace Vineyard in Ningxia was chosen as the top-scoring bottle, shocking many who know the reputation of Bordeaux wines. Not only did a Ningxia wine take the top spot, but a 2009 Medoc from the Lafite vineyard in Bordeaux was the highest-scoring French wine and came in fifth place in the contest, behind four wines from Ningxia.
Are these blind tasting results a sign of the changing times? According to some experts, it could be. In recent years China has seen a significant increase in wine drinking and is, ironically, Bordeaux’s largest export client.