a bit of grapes & hops

Chateau Mayne David, Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux (Cuvée Traditionelle Merlot) 2008
What do you want from a nine-year-old 100% Merlot Bordeaux? Something that’s still presenting purple to the eye, with just a hint of tawny brown, threatening havoc like a Guangdong thunderstorm. The nose promises a magical equilibrium of cherry-and-berry fruits, a lean, but generous 12.5% ABV, and wood mellowed down to a pleasantly intimate mouthfeel. I hate hagiographic wine reviews, but I promised I’d move from white to red this month, and this is the stand-out red wine I’ve enjoyed (not for the first time) since I posted my last review. The Chateau Mayne David 2008 is that wine. Drink it with friends, good Western cuisine and… a little respect.

Available from Aficionado for 148 RMB/Bottle (Elsewhere for 298 RMB/Bottle)

Hazelnut Brown Nectar from Rogue
I’m not a fan of nuts, hazel or otherwise. Ominously, the back label includes a Chinese phrase, which Google translates as “edible spices” (I think “food-grade flavoring” might be a better rendering). But it’s really, really good. The hazelnut taste sits comfortably among other swarthy flavors provided by specialty malts, including Kiln Coffee Malts. The result is a decent hit of restrained butterscotch sweetness, balanced immediately by the coffee-and-hop bitterness and a hint of sour fruit. One’s enough, in my humble opinion, but you’ll be glad you tried it. ABV 6.2%, IBU 33.

Available at Carrefour for 23 RMB for 355ml