Resurrection of a forgotten Cabernet fellow: Changyu Cabernet D’Est 2010, Ningxia

Did you guys ever hear of Cabernet Gernischt? Well I never heard about this extinct varietal from France. Extinct in France! Not in China! Because it was dragged over there some 200 years ago. Apparently it is a natural hybridization of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. I can’t tell anyway. But you already knew that … right? The grapes for this wine were grown on the high slopes of Helan Mountains in Ningxia, Central China, at an altitude of 1100 metres. The producer Changyu is probably one of the most famous names in the domestic industry. Maybe not just famous, reliable might be the right word to use. Unlike the majority of large Chinese wine producers. I’d alledge. In one or two occasions I had the opportunity to try Changyu wines. Back then they seemed fairly nice but pretty insignificant and characterless as well. Not more than drinkable. Let’s see how this one might present itself….
Oh, before I forget, this wine was produced under organic principles. A fact I normally neglect. Based on my experience with the Chinese food industry and its products a mentionable and favourable fact! If I may say so :-)

The vigorously intense colour in my glass reminded me of freshly tapped bull’s blood. It was rich, clear and dark. The nose reminded me of Cabernet Sauvignon, with its peppery and spicy features, and a slight hint of juvenile Syrah, with its features of mildly backed plums, rubber and fresh precise acid. The taste was very much Cabernet Sauvignon indeed. I got fairly proportionate flavours of black pepper, red paprika and rather austere liquorice. The expression of the fruit flavours were rather set back. I got some impressions of dark sour cherries and (strangely enough) negligible aromas of coconuts. Most likely a head (or a barrel) thing I guess. Apart of a very slight vanil’lic assumption I can’t detect obvious oak influences. The tannin was still a bit rustic and juvenile, but nothing to worry about. The body was semi strong, somehow classic. Maybe its length or finish might need some improvement, but come on, for 6 to 7 Euros I really won’t start to become nit-picker’ish. It surely wasn't a masculine powerhouse or alcohol bomb, nor was it sweet’y or slick. I guess it was a rather fine, not too complicated, Bordeaux Style wine for little money. I am afraid to say: It was the best Chinese wine I ever had so far!

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