Swirls: China’s love affair with Bordeaux

There is a great deal of buzz in the wine world these days about China, which, with its exploding wealth, is developing a taste for wine as never before. This demand is fueling a growing domestic industry and, perhaps more importantly, it has provided a new and vitally important market for foreign producers, most notably those in Bordeaux. When I was in Bordeaux two summers ago, I noticed the attention that growers were paying to the Chinese market, with some telling me that their wine sales in China had become far more important to their businesses than those in the United States, where Bordeaux has been a tough sell in recent years.

Several articles have taken note of all of this in recent days. From  Bordeaux, Claude Canellas of Reuters notes that there was unprecedented attendance by Chinese wine buyers at the just-concluded “en primeur” tasting of the 2009 vintage, which is being heralded by some as an exceptional one. Chinese investors are also starting to buy wine properties in Bordeaux.

Charles Metcalfe of the Telegraph notes the Chinese presence as well and colorfully describes what it’s like to taste your way through such a large-scale event (exhausting, as I can attest).

Meanwhile, Jancis Robinson writes in FT.com of her recent stop in China. With the country’s love affair with Bordeaux, she says, the Chinese wine industry is obsessed with producing home-grown cabernet sauvignon (or trying to). But she does find several successful domestic wines, including a nice little white to go with a range of Chinese cuisines and, yes, a Chinese pinot noir.

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