New fermentation processes using less oak and more year-old barrels gives this wine an honest, heartfelt taste, even more so than the earlier vintages. The Ao Yun 2016 combines scents of cedar wood, smoke, and exotic fruit with red berries. Persistent, elegant, it presents on the tongue as dense in tannins while retaining a pronounced softness. The blend is fresh but complex, with a long, slightly salty mineral finish.
This wine, with its tempered blend of grape varieties, is best swirled in a decanter and left to sit for ten minutes after opening. After that short wait, it makes for a unique food pairing experience, going marvelously with the heat and spice of Szechuan or even Indonesian dishes. The wider the range of spices used, the more exotic the combinations, the more the elaborate notes of the Ao Yun appear to advantage. The inherent freshness in its finish also make it a fine companion to fish, whether sashimi or full-grilled. Be bold, this is a wine that dares you to try it with just about anything.
Chinese winemaking has long been considered a pipe dream. But that did not stop the vineyard, spread over four villages in the Himalayas, each with their own variations of grapes and their own inherent subtleties, from making the most of this distinctive range of terroirs. It took four years to reach the 2016 vintage, their most complex yet. And many more are to come.
Store unopened red wines in a cool, dry, and dark place safe from constant vibration. Keep your bottle horizontal in a wine rack or cellar to retain the moistness of the cork. The ideal temperature for storage is between 16 to 18°C. Once opened, a bottle will be good for 3 to 5 days standing upright in the refrigerator.