With the news back in January that Sainsbury’s were stocking two Chinese wines it’s not entirely surprising to find that Tesco have now followed suit. It’s also no surprise to find out that China’s premiere winery Changyu are involved once again; this time alongside Austrian stalwart Lenz Moser.
Whilst both names might be unfamiliar to the UK market, Changyu have been producing wines for over 120 years and the Moser family have 15 generations of experience so both are old hands. What was a surprise, perhaps even a shame, was that (just like the Sainsbury’s Chinese range) I found this wine tucked away on the bottom shelf in the furthest corner and you would really have to be looking for it to find it.
Moser XV Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Ningxia, China, 14%, £8.50
The 2015 vintage was widely hailed as a good one for China, and the vines used to produce this Cabernet Sauvignon range between a very respectable 12-18 years of age.
Ningxia is in the northern-central part of China, and this wine is produced in the ‘up-and-coming’ Helen Mountain region. At 1,100 metres above sea level, the grapes are able to fuse the cooler high altitude temperatures with the arid soils and long sunlight hours (a third longer than Bordeaux) seen during the growing season. The warmth allows the grapes and their flavours to ripen fully whilst the cooler temperatures allow the berries to keep their freshness.
The bottle itself was very attractively packaged and similar in style to a classic Bordeaux. Finished with a red foil cap and branded cork, the white label displayed classic chateau imagery and scripted text (some of which was still in Chinese). The front and back labels also both proudly stated that the wine was chateau bottled, just like their Bordeaux counterparts.
On to the tasting and this was a medium youthful purple in colour, although slightly muted in tone and not shining bright like many young wines.
The nose came in several layers, beginning with ripe redcurrant fruit, before being joined by the pronounced floral perfumes of both vanilla and violet. This fragrance continued with a second wave of light red fruit, very reminiscent of strawberries and cream.
The palate contained darker fruit and was more black cherry in nature, and there was a very distinctive light and drying tannin, almost tea-like in quality. For a nation as tea-loving as the Chinese that seems fair enough!
Knowing that this wine was unoaked, overall it had quite a woody herbaceous feel and lots of green herb notes and a touch of bell pepper. Whilst this did add an almost sour element to the palate, the overriding sensation was of ripe fruit, a peppery smoothness and a spicy velvet quality. The palate was fairly long, carried by fruit warmth and alcohol.
The label suggested a food match of either beef or lamb and I think it would be a good match to make, just to round out some of the herbaceous and sour tones buried in the layers.
The Moser XV is available now from Tesco priced at £8.50 and carries a recommended drinking window of now to 8 years of age.