Good, cheap wines? Grape Wall Challenge II is on…

After today, I should have a list of some good inexpensive wines available in Beijing. I’m spending most of it at Maison Boulud, helping with the Grape Wall Challenge, an annual wine tasting organized by contributors to sibling blog Grape Wall of China.

The idea is to let Chinese consumers participate as wine judges, both to provide insights into their preferences and to give them confidence in tasting, since many people are intimidated by wine. Like most wine sold in China, all of the bottles in the challenge retail for less than RMB100. They are tasted blind, with the labels only revealed afterwards, and the judges  only have four scoring options: “I love it,” “I like it,” “I don’t like it”, and “I hate it”.

This year, the challenge has 39 wines, including 21 red wines and 18 white wines, and they come from the biggest distributors to smaller operations: ASC, Aussino, CMP (Chateau Medoc Paris), DT Asia, East Meets West, Enoteca, French Wine Paradox, Globus, Links, Sea & Sun, Summergate, Top Cellar, and Torres. The wines are from seven countries, including Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Italy, South Africa, and Spain, and cover nearly 20 kinds of grapes, from Merlot to Malbec, Chardonnay to Viognier, Chenin Blanc to Tempranillo.

I’ll soon have details on which wines the judges liked and where you can get them.

One thought on “Good, cheap wines? Grape Wall Challenge II is on…”

  1. Just returned from Changsha, capital city of Hunan Province. Since most of my visitations with relatives involve meals with baijiu I had to fall back on wine. Wine selections on shelves are dismal in the under 100RMB category. Over 100RMB I wouldn’t know what I am buying. With labels like (year) 1999 who can tell? Over pricing of wine extends to wine glasses. In a Metro store a crude stem ware, with thick body and thicker rim, is priced at 250 RMB (not 25 RMB). The same glass I can get in a Dollar Store here in Canada for the equivalent of 10 RMB, also made in China. I am not kidding. Your effort in judging and selecting value wine deserves a medal and certainly will help the Chinese wine drinkers to appreciate wine. This will also set the Chinese wine industry on a more honest course.

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