青梅酒

January 10th, 2008

Greengage. That’s what that other Fengshou/丰收 fruit wine was. My first impression is just as positive. It’s 15% alcohol by volume, very slightly stronger than the haw wine, although I’m not sure how much of an effect that has on the flavour or drinkability, if any. Good, crisp, clear flavour, and clean, too. No nasty chemicals- at least, not in the flavour. But there’s a delay- not an aftertaste, because it goes as you swallow, but a delay- most of the flavour holds back a few seconds, and you don’t get the full flavour until just as you swallow. Now how to describe it… It has a certain pungency and a hint of medicine, but not in any kind of uncomfortable sense. Indeed, the delayed full flavour adds to the enjoyment of the wine. And yes, you really do need to swallow to get that fullness. Swirling it in your mouth only gets that clear, crispness of the first part of the flavour.

I think my feelings on wine have already been expressed clearly enough and often enough, but just to make sure: Wine is only fermented grape juice, nothing more, nothing less. Nothing sophisticated, and certainly nothing to get your knickers in a bunch over. Fermented grape juice. Beer and whiskey, those are complex, sophisticated drinks. And now that that recap is out of the way: Fengshou’s wines, in my experience, are drinkable at best- and then only if you’re drinking the dry ones- but still have that skankiness that only Chinese wines seem to manage. I am, however, very impressed with their haw and greengage wines. No skankiness and good, well-balanced flavours. This greengage wine is almost comparable with your average Kiwi ale in terms of the complexity of flavour. Coming from me, that’s very high praise, indeed. But yes, from that crispness as it enters your mouth to those hints of acid, fruit wood smoke (like what they burn to roast Peking duck)?, and something ever so slightly medicinal as you swallow, it’s really quite an enjoyable drink.

5 Responses to “青梅酒”

  1. chris K Says:

    You got me all curious so I am going to give青梅酒 a try. Don’t the Japanese have something similar?
    I like wine but I have cheap taste. I assume you are not a fan of Chinese red/white wine. I’ve tried the cheapest (33Guai)Dynasty Red,it was nasty. How’s the other cheapo (Around 30 Guai)1999 Great Wall dry Red? I can’t imagine the Great Eagle at 20Guai can be any good, but who knows, right?
    Anyway, thanks for the recommendation.
    Cheers

  2. wangbo Says:

    First up: In China there is no connection between price and quality. Regards beer, I will always buy Snow when its available, Qingdao if there’s no Snow, and Yanjing or something similarly drinkable in the absence of Snow and Qingdao. All those beers cost the same amount- except when the labels get fancy. When the labels get fancy, the price rises, even though it’s the exact same stuff in the bottle. So basically, I buy the cheapest, best quality beer.

    Secondly, the only Chinese wine I have come across that I would characterise as good is that brewed by Grace Vineyards. The rest is at best drinkable. Once again, there is no connection between price and quality. I look for the character 干, meaning dry, on the label, and that is the only guide to drinkability I trust. And I can’t tell the difference between expensive Great Wall and cheap Great Wall- with the same principle applying to all Chinese wines except Grace.

    So it’s all a matter of pot luck and you finding what works for you. Sorry that I can’t be any more help. For what it’s worth: Grace is good. Otherwise, if you can’t see the character 干 displayed prominently on the label, don’t buy it. If that character 干 is on the label, it may be drinkable, but don’t expect much more than that. Oh, and I will stand by Feng Shou’s 青梅酒/greengage wine and 山楂酒/haw wine. I would say, though, that you’re still safer and better off with beer.

    But always remember: There is no connection between price and quality. If you don’t believe me, then start exploring China’s 白酒’s. I will recommend and stand by many 白酒’s that cost an absolute pittance, and I will warn you off, and stand by my warnings, others that cost real money.

  3. chris K Says:

    Wow, Thanks a million! So, Look for 干”Dry”in wine. You are absolutely spot on regarding beer brewed in Guangdong. The Tsing Dao at home taste like a good German lager, but here in China, like you said, no difference from whatever other labels.Guinness Stouts taste watered down here too.what a scam!

    I will definitely check out Feng Shou’s 青梅酒/greengage wine and 山楂酒/haw wine.

    Grace vineyards Dry wine, huh? what’s the Chinese characters for Grace Vineyards?

    Um, 白酒(pinching nose)…Thanks but I am sorry, I think I’ll pass, besides their Russian Vodkas are pretty decently priced (70 Guai) here, or is that considered too much to pay?? Grant’s Scotch are 90 Guai.

    Anyway, cheers, mate.

    Chrism K.

  4. wangbo Says:

    Yes, baijiu is an acquired taste.

    Well, you’re getting good prices for your vodka and whiskey. A bottle of Stolichnaya is about 100 at my local Carrefour, Jamesons is 125. I could probably get them cheaper at some smaller store, but then it’s probably fake. I’ve had too many run ins with fake booze to go taking that kind of risk anymore.

    Here’s a link for Grace Vineyards:
    http://www.grace-vineyard.com/
    Their Chinese name is 怡园酒庄.

  5. chris K Says:

    怡园酒庄.Excellent! I hope I can find it here in Shenzhen. Again, Thank you very much. Chris K.