1421 Wines – China’s only traceable wines – made their debut in the UK on 29th March. This was the first tasting of 1421 Wines to be held outside China.
I hosted an invitation-only lunch and tasting at Hakkasan, one of London’s finest Chinese restaurants. All three 1421 Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon labels were shown. “Heritage” is the top wine and made from low-yielding vineyards. “Admiral’s Reserve” is currently available in all 50 Metro stores in China. And the “Silver” label is sold only to 5-star hotels and the best restaurants in China.
1421 Wines’ unique traceability system is a supply chain solution program created by Metro’s Star Farm, with quality control done to the international standards set by GLOBALG.A.P. (Global Good Agricultural Practice) and IFS (International Food Standard).
The back label of every bottle of traceable 1421 wine has a barcode that can be scanned with a Smartphone to reveal a Google map of the vineyard and details of the wine’s progress from vine to store shelf.
With so many Chinese food and drink health scares in recent years, as well as the ongoing fight against fakes and forgeries, the Traceable program is a vital tool to reassure consumers that the wine they are purchasing is healthy and genuine. No other Chinese wine has yet been able to pass the stringent requirements of GLOBALG.A.P.
Guests at the lunch included:
- Douglas Blyde, restaurant writer, consultant, presenter, sommelier and cook
- Jane Egginton, travel writer and Time Out Person of the Year 2011
- Simon Farr, co-founder and Deputy Chairman of Bibendum Wine
- Damian Harper, China travel specialist and member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.
- Laura Heywood, Features Editor at Harpers Wine & Spirit magazine.
- Sarah Kemp, Publishing Director of Decanter magazine.
- Rupert Millar, Staff Writer at the drinks business magazine.
- Andrew Neather, wine correspondent of the London Evening Standard.
The guests were appreciative of the wines’ high quality. Simon Farr, one of the UK’s leading buyers of fine wine, considered them to be “accomplished – clean and balanced, and also clearly very good matches with the food. These wines show the clear potential of the region to make serious wines.” He added, “I think the brand story is great and exactly the kind of narrative that can help consumers put the wines in a geographical, historical and cultural context, and help the press and trade to articulate the contribution to choice the wines make.”
Douglas Blyde described the 1421 Admiral’s Reserve Chardonnay 2010 as “subtly cardamom- spiced”. Laura Heywood, of the UK trade magazine Harpers Wine & Spirit, wrote, “1421 Admiral’s Reserve 2010 is a clean, fresh and delicate Chardonnay with fresh citrus aromas, and hints of pears and peaches. The acidity is tight and lean, making it a good match with Asian cuisine. Redcurrants and cherries abound in 1421 Admiral’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. It has a touch of balsamic vinegar and black olives and good ageing potential.”
The event also marked the launch of 1421’s Heritage Series wines. 1421 has worked with Chinese painters to combine the cultures of art and wine together. The Heritage Series has started with the paintings of Master Luk because he depicted Zhong Kui – the ‘ghost hunter’ – who has a reputation with Chinese people as a protector from ghosts and evil spirits.
Samples of 1421 Wines are also being sent to many of the UK’s leading buyer’s and sommeliers, including:
- Gérard Basset, the reigning World Champion Sommelier and the only person ever to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and MBA wine titles.
- Xavier Rousset, Master Sommelier and owner of Texture and 28-50 restaurants.
- Vanessa Cinti, Sommelier at Cut 45 Park Lane.