The wine that flies above the clouds – Italian Cuisine

The wine that flies above the clouds

This is the meaning of the name Ao Yun, a red Grand Cru produced in China, at the foot of the Himalayas. Just presented, the 2016 harvest brings with it important news and tells a story of passion and great stubbornness

Ao Yun ( “flies above the clouds” for several reasons. Meanwhile, it is one of the few (if not the only) Chinese wine that can fearlessly compete with the great names of Bordeaux, then it is born in some of the highest vineyards in the world, in one of the most remote areas of China, in the Yunnan province. , at the foot of the sacred mountain Meili.
Here it really can happen to see the sun above the clouds.

A compelling story

At the beginning of 2008, Estates & Wines, the wine division of Moët Hennessy, started a research to identify a territory in China from which a wine of world importance could be born. It took four years of exploration across the country to find the right place in the village of Adong, at the foot of the Himalayas. Here, Jesuit missionaries had already cultivated vineyards for the first time at the end of the 19th century and, starting in 2000, the Chinese government had encouraged local farmers to plant French vines, with the aim of reviving the economy. The particular climatic conditions give cool nights and never too hot days, with a gradual and very prolonged period of ripening of the grapes (just think that in Bordeaux 120 days pass from flowering to harvest, while in Yunnan 160): these characteristics give wines fresh and with great aging potential.
In 2012, fascinated by the challenge of a new terroir, the famous Bordeaux winemaker Maxence Dulou decided to move to Yunnan and to contribute to the birth of Ao Yun. There were many tests to pass, in a place that had neither roads nor electricity, but in 2013 it was possible to harvest the grapes grown by 120 families of local winemakers and to vinify them for the first vintage of the wine, presented to the market in 2016.
The vineyards are located in four villages, at an altitude between 2,200 and 2,600 meters above sea level; the area has very different characteristics, so much so that it has been divided into 20 different types of terroir, in turn classified with 314 different plots, again divided into 900 secondary plots.

The vintages

The resulting wine has an intense color, great complexity and excellent acidity. The 2013 vintage was characterized by roundness, freshness and finesse. Composed of 90% cabernet sauvignon and 10% cabernet franc, it has elegant aromas of blond tobacco, tea, berries and peppermint.
Ao Yun 2014 strikes for the structured and powerful palate, with aromas that tell a world that we are not used to finding in the glass: sweet spices, such as cinnamon and licorice, blend with aromas of algae and exotic flowers, small fruits woods are mixed with unknown plant essences. It is a fascinating and unforgettable wine, because it resembles a great Bordeaux, but at the same time has something profoundly different.
2015 was a hotter and drier year and the wine has seen a change in the percentage of grapes, with 79% of cabernet sauvignon and 21% of cabernet franc. The wine is voluptuous and spicy, rich and round, with aromas of sandalwood, incense and fruits such as strawberries, plums and candied cherries. With Ao Yun 2016, presented to the Italian press with an online tasting, some things change, such as the addition of new vines, new grafts and new terroirs (now 30 have been identified), to increase its complexity even more. To 74% of cabernet sauvignon and 20% of cabernet franc, 4% of syrah and 2% of petit verdot have been added, for a wine with a deep color, seductive in smoky aromas, cedar wood and exotic fruit . On the palate it is mineral, with soft tannins and a long, fresh and savory finish: it confirms itself as a champion, which grows year after year.

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