Monday, 3 November 2008

Suntime Niya Dry Red 2002

Xinjiang, China, ¥128, cork seal
Though I purchased this in Qingdao it originates far to the west in the province of Xinjiang; the label even has a touch of the exotic with a picture of a camel and Arabic styled font. It's made by Suntime, a huge state funded operation whose six wineries make them Asia's biggest wine producer. Having recently read Christian Tyler's outstanding book Wild West China: The Taming of Xinjiang it's probably good to be aware that not all of the businesses emerging in Xinjiang have a 100% positive effect on the local people.

This dark crimson wine smells of herbs, blueberries, raspberries, pencil shavings and resiny cedar. There's black fruit, mint, green veggies and of almost medicinal syrup on the palate. It's got nice chalky tannins and decent length, though there's a big hollow gap in the mid-palate. Suntime Niya Dry Red 2002 is a nice enough wine; it's certainly drinkable and went really well with the lamb and spinach shepherd's pie we had for dinner. While I enjoyed this the thin mid-palate did worry me a bit. I'm starting to see a few common elements in the better quality Chinese wines I try; medium body, green notes and thin mid-palate have got me wandering if the Bordeaux wine makers of old have all moved to China.

Visit winery website.

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