Western wine markets see little Chinese wine, so little that many of us could be forgiven for thinking there was no such thing. But OF COURSE there is such a thing, and it took my brother in law's keen eye in the SAQ to pick up this offering (note: SAQ has 3 Chinese wines listed on their website).
Grape wine has been produced in China for millenia, although it seems to have gone in and out of fashion. Today there are over 800 wineries and the industry is experiencing double digit growth in production. China is now the world's sixth largest producer of grape wine (1), and according to a recent report (The Future of Wine, by UK wine merchants Berry Brothers and Rudd) could produce wine to 'rival the best of Bordeaux'. (2)
The Bordeaux reference fits nicely, as my introduction to Chinese wine begins with Cabernet Sauvignon. Holy Green Pepper, Batman! The 2006 Dragon's Hollow Cabernet Sauvignon was so green peppery that it took a little while for some other notes to reveal themselves - some Cocoa and cheese rind, green wood, and dark fruit in the background - but not a great nose. The odd nose did not carry to the palate - very smooth, but also very vegetal and tart. I think my bro-in-law summed it up: "Tastes ok, but smells bad".
cork. 12.5% alcohol
Price: C$14.75 (SAQ)
My take - young vines, probably picked early, which is unsurprising in an industry experiencing such growth (i.e. lots of new plantings) - I have noticed this with young vineyards in Canada and the U.S.