Shangri-la, Yunnan, diam cork seal
When Zhongdian County in north-western Yunnan renamed its self Shangri-la County in 2001 sceptics claimed the decision was motivated by potential tourism opportunities rather than historical fact. Whatever its name I've heard that the rugged hills and cold evenings of this beautiful area have the potential to produce good quality, cool climate wines. I'm not sure who's behind Vintopia but they are doing a few things right including a fancy website, English on the bottle label and a diam cork.
It looks aged; dark red in colour fading to orange around the rim. OK this does smell a little like plums, but too be honest it's plums that have been burnt to the bottom of a pot while trying to make jam (and trust me I know what burnt plum jam smells like). Apart from the charred fruit aroma there's also a big stinky hit of rubber and singed plastic. This tastes bitter and burnt and the finish is dominated by hot alcohol. Underneath all the charcoal there's a hint of some nice red fruit flavours, but they're smothered with unpleasantness. This suggestion of fruit makes me wonder how this would have tasted five years ago; why has a cheap wine been poorly cellared for seven years? I've got absolutely no pleasure from this and the only thing Vintopia Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 does is to re-enforce bad stereotypes of Chinese wine.
Visit winery's rather fancy website.