My Article: Golden Wine, Golden Sculpture, Golden Opportunity
October 17th, 2013
with Chinese artist Jiao Xingtao
The three Chinese characters on the label read "Sunrise", "Golden" and "Chateau”. Two Chinese temple lions also take the place of their classic chateaux statues. "That says it all," says Christian Seely, managing director of AXA Millesimes, whose portfolio includes a number of top wine properties in France.
The Englishman was in Hong Kong last Wednesday night to celebrate a special bottling of his 2009 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes for the Chinese market, and the launch also featured an example of 69 limited edition sculptures by Chinese artist Jiao Xingtao. Each sculpture looks like a large wine bottle about the size of a jeroboam, and is wrapped in a gold cloth with the Suduiraut coat of arms embossed in the material.
2009 Sauternes for the Chinese market
"Gold was the color of the emperors of China," says Xingtao, "And it’s what I thought of when I first saw the color of a full glass of Suduiraut. The next step was to cover the sculpture with cloth to make the point that you can’t experience any great wine such as this without opening the bottle. It is almost like an unattainable pleasure."
I can say that the contents of the real bottles of 2009 Suduiraut served last night gave immediate pleasure, and were surprisingly drinkable for such a young Sauternes. Just like the first time I tasted it from bottle earlier this year, it showed an outstanding balance of sweetness and freshness. It is certainly concentrated but comes across agile and drinkable.
I think Sauternes in China has great potential as new consumers are less set in their ways about how to consume glorious sweet wines. In other words, no rules exist for having to pair Sauternes with foie gras, blue cheese, or even dessert. They just drink them and enjoy them appreciating that the wines are sweet and delicious.