Xinjiang wines to crow about

Updated 2017-01-24 10:25:26 China Daily
A trio of Skyline of Gobi red wines from Tiansai Vineyards was ready-made to pair with steak from the chefs at Aria. Photos By Mike Peters / China Daily

A trio of Skyline of Gobi red wines from Tiansai Vineyards was ready-made to pair with steak from the chefs at Aria. Photos By Mike Peters / China Daily

Xinjiang's Tiansai Vineyards salutes the Year of the Rooster with two commemorative vintages.

Our host at dinner formerly worked as a judge in China's judicial system and as an automobile executive. Today, Chen Lizhong is the high-flying owner of Tiansai Vineyards, the Xinjiang winery known in English as the label Skyline of Gobi.

What's the best and worst part of her current business?

"The best part is that everyone is very optimistic, active and open-minded," she tells Hong Kong-based The Drinks Business in a recent interview. "The worst part is the constant drinking."

The worst part didn't worry her guests much last week at a wine dinner celebrating the imminent Year of the Rooster. Waiters offered generous pours of two commemorative wines that Tiansai has produced in a limited edition, 5,000 bottles each of a semi-dry chardonnay and a robust cabernet sauvignon.

"These zodiac wines are always very fresh - a quick bottling of the recent harvest," says professor Li Demei, the Chinese wine guru who is a consultant to Tiansai and a columnist for Decanter magazine. "There is no oak aging, so the fruit stands out."

The winery has been bottling zodiac-themed vintages for the past five years.

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