Taste Test

By Mat Ryan

Shanghai’s most committed dipsomaniacs get together to share and compare some of the wines around town. It’s a no-nonsense guide to the good, the great and the bloody ordinary of wine. Which wine will win the day this month?


Mat Ryan – partner in The Shed

Eric Jones – IT guy and partner in The Shed

Dean Lapthorne – wine spruiker

Umberto Cesari Moma Rose 2008 – Italy

Sitting inside watching Man vs. Wild reruns on Discovery, we sampled some great wines while this nutcase ex-SAS guy on TV squeezed ‘water’ out of elephant faeces. I think we had the better end of the stick on this one. This wine is quite fresh – a good blend of the Sangiovese and Merlot that’s not overpowering. Dean reckoned it was alright, and he knows his Italian vino. “Nothing wrong with that for a summer BBQ,” he mused. “A bit different than something you’d get out of France or Australia.” Eric thought it had a bit of an aftertaste, which in a wine is not usually a bad thing. Overall everyone said this was probably better than we had expected. It needs to be served fairly well chilled, and keep it on ice until the bottle is done, although it’s good enough that it may not take long to finish.

Price: RMB 216

Orowines Garnacha de Guego 2009 – Spain

Not something I’m overly familiar with, but I’m more than willing to try new wines. Being completely honest, the label is probably a bit off putting. It looks more like a harsh spirit than a bottle of wine, and the label lacks any input on how the contents will taste. At the risk of sounding like a wine snob, I did declare huge white pepper flavours coming through this wine, and it’s definitely old vine. Dean said, “Top notch – not your ordinary Grenache. The Spanish have put their touch on it for sure.” His final comment was “luscious”, which was rewarded with some strange looks from the rest of us. Eric, not being a massive wine drinker, thought it was fine. It’s a nice at home wine with dinner and, honestly, that’s probably the market it’s aimed at. A general thumbs up.

Price: RMB 147

Chateau Fontaine de l’Aubier Medoc 2007 – France

This was the one I was looking forward to. I’m a big Bordeaux fan, much to the dismay of my Aussie winemaker mates, but I’ve been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of sensational iconic Bordeaux wines. This one is obviously not on the same pitch as an US$8,000 bottle of Chateau Margaux, but that’s not to say it’s going to be ordinary. In fact, it’s pretty damn good. “A little more refined, £$%&ing nice and a good change from the other wines,” said Dean, continuing with, “Battle of the European heavyweights with the Italians, Spanish and French, and for once the French haven’t pulled out the white flag. They won!” Everyone agreed this was a damn fine drop. 2007 was not a sensational year; however it is generally regarded as a year that is approachable very early. I could see this one being a hit amongst the local Chinese. It’s Bordeaux, which they love, it’s red and it tastes pretty good.

Price: RMB 225


It’s fair to say, all of us were happy with the selection. Dean thought a great way to start off the summer day was with a rosé, the Grenache is big and hardy – a good second step – then the French stuff. Eric loved the rosé and tips it with BBQ over the upcoming American Independence Day. I give the win to the Bordeaux – a typical style, but actually well made in a difficult year for the region.

All wines are available from www.china-wines-and-spirits.com

Sherpa’s Wine of the Month

The delivery service’s most expensive white – Louis Jadot Macon Villages Blanc – is dry, easy to drink and quite lively. Fruity with a hint of lemon and a pleasing floral scent, it’s a perfect example of what the Macon region of Burgundy does best. Drink chilled and pair with fried or grilled fish, seafood or cheese.

Price: RMB 178

Web: www.sherpa.com.cn

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