Clarendelle in China

by Eve Resnick on April 3, 2008

in General

It seems to be my “brand” week. I read carefully the thread started by Hoke Harden on Open Wine Consortium on the subject and all the comments he inspired. Too many brands? Of course, in the US only, there are over 7,000 wine brands on the market. Overwhelmed? Of course, I’m overwhelmed: I usually buy my wine after consulting my friends or my wine retailers. I never buy wine in a supermarket because I can’t get any advice. Need to educate the consumer? Of course, but it’s an impossible task. The debate is still open and I’ll add to the confusion with a little post on one of my favorite brands, Clarendelle.

Clarendelle is the brand created by Robert of Luxembourg, the VP of Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux and one of the owners. Clarendelle wants to be the answer of the Old World to the New World wines. A good thread for the group on the European Community in Open Wine Consortium! What does it mean? Haut-Brion is one of the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux, the smallest and the oldest of the First Classified Growths (along with Margaux, Laffite, Latour and Mouton). It has a tradition of excellence. Robert launched Clarendelle as an expression of the best of Bordeaux but easily drinkable and at a very fair price. The wine is available in red, white and pink and tastes wonderful.

Classical but contemporary, Clarendelle is considered a super premium wine. As such it is very much in demand in China where the tastes are evolving. As Shanghai is leading Chinese tastes in wine”:

“The wine scene here is abuzz with excitement and possibility. The number of premium-wine importers has jumped from three in 1999 to more than a hundred today. Two years ago, there was nary a shop offering tastings; now a dozen retailers hold such events. New wine bars abound. As of 2006, there was a Shanghai chapter of the highbrow Commanderie de Bordeaux, and the mostly trade-and-expat Shanghai Wine Society was founded in 2005.”

Because of this continued interest in wine among the most fortunate Shanghai inhabitants and expatriates, new comers on the professional wine scene invent new events, new venues and create new excitement. The former chief sommelier of Jean Georges Shanghai, Yvonne Chiong, is working on a wine-buying program for Wang Hui Ming, a restaurant group with more than 20 establishments in Shanghai. Chiong is now pairing local cuisine with premium, imported wines—roasted pigeon, say, with a 2003 Clarendelle! Q.E.D.!

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