Considered one of the top wineries in China, Kanaan is located at the foot of the Helan Mountains in Ningxia, which is about 1,000 km west of Beijing. Kanaan means ‘the land of milk and honey’, signifying the hope for Ningxia to be one of China’s leading regions for the production of fine wine. The winery was established in 2011 by Fang Wang, daughter of Wang Feng Yu, a pioneer of viticulture in Ningxia. Fang is nicknamed ‘Crazy Fang’ for her boldness to start a winery with no prior experience, and for embarking on the near impossible mission of growing Riesling in Ningxia.
Ningxia is known for having harsh winters that require individual vines to be buried manually in November before being dug up the following April.Temperatures can fall to -20°C and the annual rainfall is 200mm.
Kanaan has 16.8 hectares of vineyard, with 10 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.3 hectares of Riesling, 1.2 hectares of Merlot and the rest Chardonnay. Due to the sandy soils, vines are planted on their own roots as there is no need for protection against phylloxera. The vines are trained in the upturned ‘L’ training system, where the cordon is kept close to the ground to facilitate vine burial. All vineyard work is done by hand as this training system is not suitable for mechanisation.
The Pretty Pony was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. It is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. This is the flagship wine of the estate and was aged in French barriques for 12 months, 70% of which were new.
On the nose, the Pretty Pony displays bright and forward blackberry and blackcurrant fruit aromas, which give way to an elegant and refined palate, with finely structured tannins. We are not the only admirers of this wine, as this vintage picked up the Decanter Asia Wine Awards’ Regional Trophy for Ningxia in 2015, proof that Fang may not be so crazy after all.
Awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2019 article "Balkan Intrigue" (see blue link below).
This wine was also awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
Every wine tells a story about the synergy between the soil, sun, grapes and the country of its origin. The Tikveš Winery has been narrating the Republic of Macedonia’s story as a winemaking country since 1885. However, the Republic of Macedonia remains one of Europe’s last undiscovered wine countries: it is a natural paradise of vineyards, mountains, lakes and rivers, with a climate perfectly suited to producing quality grapes. Located in the Tikveš region of central Macedonia, the Tikveš estate sustainably cultivates indigenous varieties such as Smederevka, Vranec and Kratoshija. The grapes are vinified in the state-of-the-art cellar equipped with the latest technology under the watchful eye of illustrious consultant oenologist Philippe Cambie, resulting in a series of authentic and characterful wines.
2015 was characterised by good weather conditions throughout the growing cycle, resulting in an excellent balance between sugar, acidity and flavours. The red wines from 2015 are particularly potent, rich in tannins and flavours; ideal for ageing.
Grapes: Kratoshija 65%, Vranec 35%, being a blend of two indigenous varieties. Kratoshiya (pronounced krat-oss-SHEE-yah) has the same genetic origins as the Italian Primitivo variety. Vranec (pronounced VRANash) translates as 'black stallion' and wine made from this grape variety is associated with strength and opulence. The double Guyot trained vines are grown in a hilly plot with a south eastern orientation. Planted in well drained volcanic soils, the roots extend to a depth of 1.2 metres, where the soil is enriched with carbonates, minerals. This complex nutrition level imparts richness to the resulting wines. The vines are green harvested before véraison in order to further concentrate the flavours within the grapes. Harvest is undertaken manually, in order to ensure the grapes are picked at their optimum maturity.
The grapes were cooled for 12 hours, then destemmed, crushed and cold macerated for three days. Vinification took place over the course of 25 days, with regular pumping-over taking place in order to extract the desired levels of tannins, colour and flavours. Pressing took place in a pneumatic press which was followed by malolactic fermentation. 80% of the wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 15 months, followed by a minimum of six months bottle ageing.
A warm and savoury wine showing raisined black fruits complemented by dark chocolate and elegant toasty oak flavours.
Complex and elegant aromas of blackberries, plums and cherries combine with subtle hints of vanilla and toasty notes. Beautifully textured with a mouth-filling palate of ripe berried fruits against a mineral backdrop and a long lasting finish.
Zorik Gharibian, an Armenian based in Italy, worked with Attilio Scienza to find precisely the right location for this exciting project. After three years of research and detailed analysis of every aspect of the region, he finally bought the land in Vayotz Dzor. This is historically known as the most prestigious wine region in Armenia. The intention was to create a wine of the highest international quality. Winemaker Alberto Antonini and viticulturalist Stefano Bartolomei brought a great deal of passion and planning to the project, as well as a profound understanding of how to make it a success.
Zorah has 15 hectares of vineyards, surrounded by mountains at 1,400 metres above sea level and only steps away from a 6,100 year old winery. The vineyards are situated in the small rural village of Rind in the heart of Vayotz Dzor, Armenia's quintessential grape growing region for quality wines. Long dry summers, with good sunlight and high daytime temperatures contrast with cool nights, encouraging a lengthy growing season. The soils are rocky and rich in limestone, helping maintain moisture for the vines during the intense summer heat. The indigenous vines are grown on ungrafted rootstock as the area is unaffected by Phylloxera.
The grapes were harvested by hand into small 15 kilo crates. After destemming, the grapes were gently crushed. Fermentation and maceration on the skins took place in concrete tanks with no epoxy lining. Malolactic fermentation occurred naturally. The wine was aged partially in concrete tanks, partially in large untoasted wooden casks in order to soften tannins, but mainly in traditional Armenian amphorae (karas) of varying sizes which were sealed with wax and buried partially below ground to maintain a constant temperature. The wine was very lightly filtered before bottling, and spent a further six months ageing in bottle before release.
Bright ruby red in colour, this wine has complex aromas of red fruits, lightly spiced with an elegant toasted note. The palate reflects the exotic nose with hints of soft red fruits, dried mountain herbs and wild earth. Generous and soft with balanced, full-bodied structure and mature tannins before a long, evolved mineral finish.
A fresh and medium bodied red wine with a combination of black fruits and bitter chocolate, reminiscent of Refosco from Northern Italy.
Les Celliers de Meknès is a private company responsible for about 20% of Morocco’s wine production.
The Beni M’Tir wines are from higher altitude vines grown on clay soils and have more structure. The Riad Jamil Rouge is made from hand-harvested Carignan aged in Allier and Tronçais oak barrels.
This wine which is 100% Carignan is full bodied, dark berry red in colour with aromas of rich and robust raspberry fruit. The palate is warm and well-rounded with soft tannins and complex, cedar, vanilla and spicy notes. This is an oaked red of considerable power and quality.
Exhibits pure and vibrant aromas of plum and black mulberry under a frame of earth, vanilla and sweet spice. Ripe, fleshy and concentrated with a harmonious density of well- extracted tannins and hefty fruit. Excellent length and finesse on the flavourful finish. This wine is now ready to drink.