hello, I am Jai Mei (otherwise known as Jaimie Halliday), I like wine.
I also am currently learning Mandarin. So when I had the opportunity to attend an event that combined combine Chinese with wine I jumped on it faster than you can say 干杯 (Gan Bei.. also known as cheers).
Last week we were invited to attend the Australian Premium China Yearbook 2018 tasting. Organized by SA’s own Tomich Wines, this is a collaboration between Winestate Magazine and Apex Manuel (essentially a Chinese publication focusing on all things fancy) to taste through 300 Australian wines tailored to a Chinese palate and pick a top 100 to be published in the magazines. The event brought together industry leaders and wine enthusiasts from both Australia and China to discuss the growing industry and exchange between our countries.
All the wines were judged using a Chinese system called WinEvaluator which is essentially a wine ranking system out of 100 points. There are loads of different wine rating systems, Winestate magazine uses a 5 star system, other publications will rank wines out of 10 of 20. Essentially what sets apart WinEvaluator as a ranking system is that it enables wine makers in Australia to understand Chinese wine consumers and their tastes. In the end I do not really place much weight on ranking systems, I think that wine is pretty subjective. If I like a wine it is because I like it, not because some one else tells me I should.
From the 300 submitted Australian wines the Winestate and WinEvaluator panel picked wines the top 100 and then from that the top 20 were selected. All of the wines were available for guests to taste during the evening and taste I did. The wine nerd in me was interested to investigate how Chinese wine tastes differ from Australian, also TGIF. So how is it different? Sweet, big and alcoholic really sums it up. It is the kind of wines that a big on the fruit and send your mouth purple with the first sip – the type of wine that your dad thinks is bang for your buck.
Wine is new in China, and thus a whole country with centuries of culinary traditions has to figure out a away to fit wine in to the equation. With a continual exposure comes refinement of palates, China’s palate is in its infancy and has room to grow. These events are going to start becoming more commonplace as our Chinese friends explore this industry that we have refined.
Until then干杯 !