In vino allegria

I remember my first two years in China, living in Tangshan and scouring the supermarkets for decent red wine to no avail and trying just about every bottle of Gan Hong ( dry red) that i could fine to try and find something remotely palatable. My oh my, how have the times changed!!
fast forward to Beijing life, a few years later, wine is all around us.. I could make a song out of it. Decent tastings (and free) on a monthly basis with prices getting better and better. There is also a rumor that the taxes on wine import will go down soon thus making it easier to get quality wines at lower price points.

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Hot on the heels of me ordering my case of mixed Sangre from Torres, I went over to sample some Chilean nectars at the Top Cellar Chilean wine festival. A figured it would be a good opportunity to try a few new varieties and just meet more wine-drinking merry folks in the ‘jing.
Mission accomplished!
I was extremely surprised at the quality of the offerings as well as the generosity of the pours. The event was on a thursday at 7:30 p.m and was supposed to last until 8:30 but the free pours kept coming past 10:00 p.m. with great conversation and a lot of interesting folks.

raminara.jpgThe highlight of the night for me was the 2003 Raminara Grand Reserve Syrah-Carmenere which proved to be amazingly balanced and so easy to drink. It displayed a pleasant personality throughout the few glasses i had the pleasure of sipping.
I can’t seem to find much information about the producer or the vineyard other than one article in Spanish in a Chilean website. Considering the strength of the portfolio i tasted yesterday, I must admit that it’s baffling. Maybe a star on the rise…

The surprise of the night came in the form of a Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2005 Stella Solaris which was ..uhm..uhm.. potent to say the list. It knocked out my taste buds in the first round to the point where i needed a couple of glasses of water to just get rid of the dryness in my mouth.

The beautiful thing about this wine festival that Top Cellar is having at the moment is the “buy 2 get 1 free” offer of the wines displayed at the time and the offer is valid for 1 whole month… yours truly needs to make some time and go stock up.