While French president Emmanuel Macron gifted Chinese president Xi Jinping a rare Domaine Romanée-Conti 1978 valued around 20,000 euros during his China trip, Xi matched up with arguably one of the best Chinese wines produced today in return.
It’s not a hefty-priced Chinese wine produced by LVMH’s high-altitude Ao Yun in Shangri-la region in Yunnan (US$300) or equally expensive DBR Lafite’s first Chinese wine Long Dai in eastern Shandong province (US$335), but rather a white wine from the country’s family-owned winery Silver Heights in northwestern Ningxia province costing less than US$45 a bottle.
The wine is understood to have been served to the French president on November 5 during a state dinner hosted by Xi in Shanghai during Macron’s three-day visit in China.
It’s not immediately known if other Chinese wines were also served at the dinner.
The boutique winery was apparently not aware of the news until local Ningxia government relayed the news to the Gao family much later after the event. The winery told Vino-joy.com the wine served at the state dinner was Silver Heights Family Reserve Chardonnay 2017.
Made with 100% Chardonnay, the wine is described by the winery as a Burgundian style white, and aged in a Burgundian barrel for 12 months before release.
Coincidentally the first vintage of the white wine, 2014 Family Reserve Chardonnay, was also served at another state dinner when German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited China in 2016.
Founded in 2007 by father and daughter team Lin Gao and Emma Gao, Silver Heights stood out from volume-focused big producers like GreatWall Winery or Changyu, and came to be known as the Chinese equivalent of a French ‘garagiste winery’.
Over the years, it has grown literally from Gao family’s house in Ningxia to now one of the most internationally acclaimed Chinese wineries.
Its 2009 vintage of Emma’s Reserve, its top cuvée made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon with limited production of 2,000 bottles, is still the highest rated Chinese wine by Jancis Robinson MW, scoring 17 points out of 20.
The winery makes a few ranges of wines, namely Emma’s Reserve, The Summit, Family Reserve and Last Warrior.
Its wines are sold in Hong Kong through Watson’s Wine.
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