It’s an exciting time for Chinese wine. After all, China is now one of the top wine producers in the world. In fact, the past decade has seen the planting of some 120,000 hectares of vineyards, with eight large-scale regions and more than 200 wineries emerging. As a result, China has been propelled into the top 10 of the world’s biggest wine-producing countries.
Therefore, if you’re thinking it might be time to see exactly what the country has to offer, the latest IWSC medal winners are a good place to start. Judges have taste-tested their way through the country’s diverse wines. The range included Cabernet Sauvignons modelled on the Bordeaux style and reds made from Marselan – a crossing vying for signature grape status in China.
From the judging, Cabernet Sauvignon wines were singled out, praised for their complexity, freshness and fruitiness; meanwhile, the Chinese Chardonnays sampled demonstrated texture and elegance. Additionally, sweet wines made the list of medal-winners, and in particular, Chinese ice wines made from the Vidal grape impressed the judges thanks to concentrated fruit flavours and crisp acidity.
Helan Mountain in Ningxia was the region most decorated with Gold and Silver medals. Likewise, producers from Huanren in the Liaoning region picked up plenty of sweet-wine accolades.
Most importantly, each sample was grouped by type, and judged blind alongside its category peers and by a panel of experts. The Chinese wine category was judged by some of the best palates in the business. Chairing the group was Sarah Abbott MW, joined by wine and spirit buyer for Harvey Nichols Bryan Rodriguez, wine writer and educator Marie Cheong-Thong and drinks consultant Barry McCaughley. Also judging were wine and sake expert Christine Parkinson, wine buyer for Enotria & Coe, Rebecca Gergely, wine educator Vivienne Franks and Master Sommelier Matthieu Longuere.
Consequently, the team at Club Oenologique has taken a look in order to deliver the top 10 list below.
For readers new to Chinese wine, we recommend you read our in-depth guide, Chinese Wine Explained. But for now, we bring you the top 10 Chinese wines you need to try.
The 10 best Chinese wines from the IWSC 2021
- Penglai Longting Vineyard Co., Art Series Summer 2019. Shandong; 95/100
- Junding Winery, Dongfang 2018. Shandong; 95/100
- Ningxia Jade, Aria 2018. Ningxia; 93/100
- Petit Mont, Cabernet Sauvignon 2019. Ningxia; 93/100
- Chateau Mihope, Limited Release 2018. Ningxia; 93/100
- Chateau Changyu Golden Icewine Valley, Black Diamond Vidal Icewine 2018. Liaoning; 93/100
- Xuzhou Hanxiang Liquor, Nabaifu Classic Vidal Icewine 2017. Liaoning; 93/100
- Liao Ning Sunvalley Vineyard, 25 Ice Wine Riesling 2016. Dongbei; 92/100
- Chateau Hedong, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018. Ningxia; 92/100
- Yantai Hairei Winery, Le Boiley Marselan 2018. 92/100
How do we judge these wines?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
How do we score these wines?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
More from Club Oenologique
Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.