Ningxia Riesling, Kanaan Winery, China


£29.95 per bottle

ABV 14.5%

This is a dry style Riesling. The nose boasts aromas of grapefruit, green apple and lime blossom. The flavours are consistent and concentrated on the palate, well-balanced with bright and zesty acidity.

Considered to be one of China’s top wineries, Kanaan is located at the foothills of the Helan Mountains in Ningxia, about 1,000 kilometres west of Beijing. Kanaan means ‘the land of milk and honey’, signifying the hope for Ningxia to be one of China’s leading fine wine regions. The horses on the label reference the Helan Mountains, as ‘helan’ translates to horses in ancient Chinese. The winery was founded in 2011 by Fang Wang, whose father Wang Feng Yu was a pioneering viticulturist in Ningxia. Fang is nicknamed ‘Crazy Fang’ due to her ‘crazy’ idea of establishing a winery with no prior experience and embarking on the near-impossible mission of growing Riesling in Ningxia. Fang spent 12 years abroad, including a significant period in Germany where she acquired her love of Riesling.

Ningxia has harsh winters that require individual vines to be buried manually in November, before being dug up the following April. Temperatures can fall to -20°C and the annual rainfall is 200mm. Due to the sandy soils, phylloxera can’t survive in the vineyards, allowing the vines to be planted on their own roots. Kanaan comprises 16.8 hectares of vineyard, planted with 10 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.3 hectares of Riesling, 1.2 hectares of Merlot and the rest of Chardonnay. The vines are trained in the upturned ‘L’ training system, where the cordon is kept close to the ground to facilitate vine burial. All vineyard work is done by hand as this training system is unsuitable for mechanisation.

The Riesling and the ‘Pretty Pony’ Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot are both fermented in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks. The Riesling is dry with aromas of grapefruit, green apple, and lime blossom with balanced acidity. The ‘Pretty Pony’ is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. This is Kanaan’s flagship wine, aged in used French barriques for 12 months. On the nose, it displays bright, forward blackberry and blackcurrant fruit aromas which give way to an elegant palate with finely structured tannins.

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