This 2013 Ao Yun is a new star of China! The vineyard is backed by LVMH in Shangri-La, at the edge of the Himalayas. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates this wine with 90%, the other 10% is Cabernet Franc. 2013 is the first vintage. It is opaque, with a very deep ruby color. Elegant and restrained in style, it reveals scents of bell pepper, blackcurrant, prune and blackberry with subtle hints of dark chocolate, clove, tobacco and licorice. Refreshing on the palate, full-bodied and with very silky tannins, it has great concentration, perfect structure and a very long finish. Tasting date: May 17, 2017. Alcohol level: 15%.
Ao Yun – Moët Hennessy and China’s Magical High Wire Wine (Decanter Magazine 2016)
How Moët Hennessy made a luxury red wine in the mountains of China’s Yunnan province, near to Tibet. John Stimpfig tastes Ao Yun for the first time with Jean-Guillaume Prats.
When I sampled Ao Yun last night, Jean-Guillaume Prats’ latest and arguably most exciting magnum wine opus, I was extremely grateful to the president of Moët & Hennessy’s Wine Estates not to be tasting it’ blind’.
Why was I so relieved to be tasting the wine ‘sighted’? Because had I not done so, I simply wouldn’t have known where to place this hugely impressive debut red. To my palate it had elements of Napa, Bierzo, the Languedoc and even Bordeaux.
I would never have come close to its actual home of Yunnan province in Southern China on the edge of Himalayas.
What wasn’t in doubt though was the quality, uniqueness and pedigree of the wine in my glass.
Indeed, it was remarkable for a number of reasons. Firstly, and most obviously, because of where it comes from and how it was made. As Prats told me, ‘there is no manual or benchmark here because we are the first. So we are learning everything as we go along. Really, this is a great adventure.’
This sentiment was captured brilliantly in Jane Anson’s exclusive feature in Decanter last year when she was one of the first wine writers to visit this mountain eyrie in 2015.