Bordeaux + braised pork = Bliss

For Bernard Farges, president of Le Conseil interprofessionnel du vin de Bordeaux or CIVB, acouncil of wine professionals and traders in Bordeaux, France, the China market remains anexport destination with great potential, in spite of the recent hiccups.

So, Bordeaux will allocate more resources to boost consumption of its wines in China.Bordeaux is one of France’s, and arguably the world’s, best wine regions.

After two years of decline in export volumes to China due to unavailability of wines,Bordeaux’s exports to China rebounded recently, after the region adjusted the structure of itssupplies.

Exports to China rose to 61 million bottles, or 24 percent of Bordeaux’s combined volume,which were worth 280 million euros ($318.53 million), or 15 percent of the region’s globalexport turnover value.

“China has been topping Bordeaux’s global export destinations both in terms of volume andvalue since 2011. In the next 10 years, we anticipate more diversified consumption amongChina’s consumers on the back of vineyard tourism, wine-related courses at academies andfresh investments,” said Farges.

Consumers and wine trade experts said they have seen Bordeaux wines’ improving imageand Bordeaux wine exporters’ efforts to better understand China and its consumers, and toadapt Bordeaux’s image to China.

China’s drinking habits are changing. Focus has shifted to individual consumption fromdrinking at group events like banquets. Stress is on personal experiences. This augurs wellfor Bordeaux labels, experts said.

“Ten years ago, when I heard about Bordeaux through films or television, its wine bottlesretailed for 80,000 yuan each. Now, I drink Bordeaux red or white about twice a month. Theprice is somewhere between 300 yuan and 500 yuan per bottle. I can experiment withpairings of different food and wine, which is quite interesting,” said Liu Erye, a consumer anda freelance food reviewer in Shanghai.

Dong Li, a wine importer at Shanghai Junjue Foreign Wines Ltd, said he has received abooklet from a Bordeaux wine trader full of ideas on how to pair Bordeaux wine with Chinesefood.

“It is really interesting to read some of the ideas. You can tell that the French winemakershave made extremely great efforts to understand Chinese cuisine and Chinese taste buds,”said Dong.

One pairing tip suggests matching soft and well-structured dry red wine from Saint-Émilion,Pomerol or Fronsac with fresh pork moon cake. The wine and food share many things incommon, including saltiness, complexity and structure of tastes. The wine’s tannin and acidcan balance the meat’s oily feeling, the booklet states.

Other tips include having the fruity Bordeaux Supérier rosé with chili bull frog, and braisedpork with Médoc or Graves dry red wine.

Bordeaux + braised pork = Bliss

A woman tastes a 2013 vintage red wine at the Palais de la Boursein Bordeaux, southeastern France. Bordeaux’s exports to Chinarebounded recently, after the region adjusted the structure of itssupplies.CHINA DAILY

CIVB has been researching global consumers’ preferences and tolerance to various tastesthat Bordeaux wines offer. The research includes a study of Chinese consumers’ preferencefor levels of tannin, acid, sweetness, bitterness, flavor and the age of wine. The results will beout by this year-end.

Faced with competition from the world’s emerging brands in China, the Bordeaux wine sectorprofessionals are focusing on their own products to forge ahead, said Thomas Jullien,representative of CIVB’s Asia-Pacific operations.

“We don’t have some particular strategies to handle increasing competition. The wine sectoris a key pillar of the Bordeaux economy. So, we focus on improving quality to produce winesthat offer higher value. We have been making great efforts to educate and inform consumersabout wines. Chinese consumers now associate Bordeaux with wine quality.

“We are pleased to note that Chinese consumers are choosing wines other than those fromBordeaux. This shows they are learning, experimenting and comparing. We believeoenophiles will always buy and drink Bordeaux wines again and again,” said Jullien.

(Source: China Daily)

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