The Chinese gold we saw coming

In 2018 I had the honor to be invited to Château Mihope by the Ningxia Meiyu winery.

In the center of the 130 cultivated hectares there is an immense and luxurious tuff-coloured château. The interior, designed by Italian architects, abounds in marble of different shades of grey, black and white. It is used by the owner of the huge Meida group to welcome special guests and does not accept visitors from outside his business circuit. For this very reason, I felt honored to be invited to visit and enjoyed not only the great splendor, but also the good taste and attention to detail in the work. Not only in the château itself, but the attention to details can also be noticed in their wines.

The vines are 80% red with a predominance of Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot and Syrah. The Marselan, planted in 2016, saw its first harvest this 2018. The vineyard, that are at 1,190 meters above sea level, was built with a slope of 20 metres from west to east and 10 metres from north to south to allow both a differentiated exposure and the control of irrigation water flows; in its south-eastern corner, it has a catch basin that sends water back to the irrigation pumps.

The project started in 2013 and had its first harvest on 23 September 2016, followed by the estate’s sumptuous opening party. 2018 was the production capacity of over 500 tonnes.

I was accompanied by winemaker Zhou Xing, who followed the project from the beginning and, in 2015, completed the facilities. It has a 5,000 m2 cellar that also includes the bottle maturation area and warehouse. They purchased 7,000 new barrels in 2015 and add more than 200 each year.

I was able to taste a Chardonnay 2017 of which they bottled only 530 bottles. It is not on the market because they only use for special dinners or competitions. The Chardonnay is fermented in barrel for 20 days, followed by three months of stabilization in steel and then six months back in barrel. It is perfumed but not particularly intense, nor persistent. It carries notes of nutmeg and vanilla. In the mouth it has a pleasant acidity, a good balance between vine and wood aromas.

This year one of their red wines won a Gold medal at Berlin Wein Trophy. Their “Chateau Mihope Limited Edition Dry Red Wine” It is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Knowing the skills of the producer and the winemakers, I know that this is a worthy winner. And I’m looking forward to one day go back and try the next generation wines.

You can read more about my Chines adventure in my book, Appunti di Vino Cinese

Umberto Galli Zugaro