A great article at The Blending Room is loaded with some reviews of one of China’s flagship wine producers, Changyu. The reviews are very unflattering, though I haven’t yet had the pleasure (or displeasure) of trying Changyu. In a few days I’ll be trying the other main Chinese brand, Great Wall, but I’m already a little squeamish about trying any of them when tasting notes posted by Mike Veseth, a well-known wine expert, say that Chinese wine tastes of “coffee grounds and ashtray with a hint of urinal cake.”
Also, wine expert Jancis Robinson said:
My two previous visits had been in 2002 and 2008 and on the second I had been deeply depressed by the fact that, while the rest of the world was making better wine with every vintage, the quality of Chinese wine seemed to have stagnated. The typical Chinese wine still tastes like a very poor quality Bordeaux Rouge: sometimes not recognisably vinous, thin from overproduction, tart from underripeness, and often tough, thanks to an obsession with the unyielding Cabernet Sauvignon grape that has dominated vineyard plantings in China’s new wine-drinking era. This seems to me to be precisely the sort of wine least likely to woo a neophyte wine drinker, and least likely to be a good match for Chinese food.
An anonymous reviewer on Wineass.com (lol) even said that it tasted “Like Beijing smog over an abandoned 50s gas station.” With descriptive powers like that I don’t think there’s anything more I can add except that I won’t pass judgement on Chinese wine until I’ve tasted it for myself.