If you read enough wine news it may seem like the Chinese own more of Bordeaux than the French do. Not quite, but there’s a lot of new money in China. The growing middle class has found a taste for good wine, and successful businessmen and women have seen the investment opportunity wine can offer. It’s certainly a safer bet than the property market.
The first major Chinese purchase has been made in Burgundy, with 28-year-old businessman Shi Yi buying up two vineyard plots in Vosne-Romanée and a few smaller plots elsewhere in Vosne-Romanée, Nuits Saint-Georges village and AOC Bourgogne.
Yi currently lives in Burgundy and has enjoyed a successful business partnership with a local grower. Over the past six months, they have shipped three containers of Burgundy wine to Shanghai.
Burgundy is arguably producing the world’s greatest wines, and the commune of Vosne-Romanée in the Côte-d’Or is just about as good as it gets in this famous French wine region. Only Pinot Noir can be used for Vosne-Romanée wines, and despite being quite a subtle grape variety, reds sourced from this land tend to be silky, rich and full, with amazing depth and complexity. The small volume that comes with each vintage, partly due to winemakers deliberately pulling low yields for extra richness in the wines, means prices are at a premium.
Shi Yi and his pals might also be interested to know that The Cadogan Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge has launched a Champagne bath menu, offering a Dom Pérignon 2002 bath for £25,000. Sure what’s an extra £25,000 before breakfast?
In other recent news, and I just had to include this while we’re on the subject of China, a certain Chilean wine has been causing controversy in Shi Yi’s homeland. The wine brand, called Chilensis, loosely translates as “f*cking nuts” according to a source in Hong Kong. More on that here.
For some serious indulgence, check out Chartron et Trebuchet’s powerful Vosne Romanée.
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