One of the most interesting wine estate visits of my career took place in June this year when I travelled to the Ao Yun vineyards and winery in northeast Yunnan, near Tibet. Here LVMH are making, in partnership with local famers, a luxury quality Cabernet Sauvignon with a unique character. The debut vintage, 2013, and now 2014, are available for purchase. Both express this special terroir a little differently, and each has qualities deserving your attention.
The chance to taste 2016 in the winery, barrel by barrel, vineyard plot by vineyard plot gave me a clearer sense of where Ao Yun is heading. Time will tell if the world fine wine market will accept this newcomer estate and region into the club, but they did with Bolgheri and they did with Napa before that. So perhaps it is not so much if, but when. From what I have tasted and experienced, the ingredients for this are in place; the quality and the trajectory are there.
My tasting notes for the 2013 and 2014 are below, and our stock is available for immediate delivery to you.
2013 Ao Yun
A clear, deep shade of garnet; a lifted, fresh, leafy, breezy sort of nose, a cool expression of varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, with a hint of earth and dark chocolate; fine, fleshy, fresh with a really zippy acidity which is set strikingly against the concentration and intensity of the dark fruit. The taste is pure fruit expression – no sense of oak – and it is bold and complex – ranging from confit tomato to blackcurrant to espresso. The expression is a little raw and wild, not fully refined, but bursting with energy. A pinch to the somewhat edgy cool finish. 93.
2014 Ao Yun
Deep purple in the glass; a lovely open nose, floral, very Cabernet Sauvignon varietal vibrancy, some pencil shavings in the background; on the palate this is very fresh, juicy and fine-textured, with polished tannins, intense blackcurrant-like fruitiness, and good fresh extension on the finish. 93.