Born from a dream that began in 2008, Ao Yun is the first Grand Cru of the Himalayas, a unique, world-class fine wine in China. First of its kind, it brings a new region – Yunnan – to the world winemaking map. This year, the brand released its latest vintage of 2017. Ao Yun 2017 boasts a concentrated yet fresh and velvety blend that symbolises the wine’s enhancement through a challenging climate.
Marked by challenges in climatic conditions, 2017 started with a dry and warm winter followed by a cool spring that delayed growth of the vines. The summer was cool and much too wet, and at the beginning of fall, a crucial window opened with one month of higher temperatures than average. The season’s climate and newly optimised ways of working in the vineyard resulted in a generous harvest with very powerful and beautifully mature grapes. The unique climate further permits the grapes to concentrate without oxidisation of tannins and aroma, keeping the great Himalayan freshness and aging potential.
With careful consideration for the powerful maturation of the grape, the Ao Yun team had to execute a precise job of refining the tannin extraction during the delicate winemaking process. During malolactic fermentation and breeding, the team increased the levels of natural micro-oxygenation to soften these powerful textures. For the first time, the Ao Yun team added 2% of the Merlot grape variety, increasing roundness of the final blend. A more refined selection process was adopted for picking out the finest wine batches to be part of Ao Yun, before being aged for 14 months in 38% new oak and 62% older barrels.
Ao Yun 2017 exudes a deep, dark colour, and aromas on the nose consist of fresh black fruit such as blackcurrant, game, autumn forest floor, a cold fireplace, and earth. On the palate, it is more concentrated, rounder than previous vintages also thanks to the Merlot and an added velvety touch, followed by Ao Yun’s signature long and salty mineral finish. Irene Sam, MDT