Treaty Port Vineyards The Philosopher Qiushan Valley 2016
This Syrah blend is a Gold Medal winner at the China Wine & Spirits Awards, the country's most prestigious wine competition
The Philosopher is named after the 13th century Taoist monk Qiu Chuji, whose temple lies within the Treaty Port vineyards. The core of the wine is Syrah which excelled in the 2016 vintage with rich cherry and wonderful structure, the addition of Merlot brings soft plum fruit and spice while a touch of Petit Verdot adds colour, tannins and more weight to the palate. This is a delicious red wine, a perfect match to classics like bolognese or roast lamb but is also excellent with Chinese dishes such as beef in black bean sauce.
Treaty Port Vineyards was established by englishman Chris Ruffle, an Oxford graduate and businessman with a degree in Chinese philosophy who planted his first vines in Qiushan Valley, Penglai, Shandong Province, China in 2005. Along with planting vineyards, the first in the Qiushan Valley, Chris also built a full scale Scottish style castle which acts as both winery and boutique hotel. The Shandong peninsula borders the Bohai Sea to the north and the Yellow Sea to the south, with Penglai being on the southern coast on the Gulf of Bohai, this city was once one of the 'treaty ports' through which foreign traders could enter the Chinese empire which is where 'Treaty Port Vineyards' has derived it's name.
The journey to making wines in this area has not been without its challenges for Chris (which he details in his book 'A Decent Bottle of Wine in China'), as unlike in Ningxia where the Chinese government has actively encouraged the growth of various vineyards, no such history was in place here. The quality of the wines is testement to Chris' will to establish a winery in Qiushan Valley, and fully justified since his new(ish) next door neighbours are none other than Château Lafite Rothschild.