Another discovery from the west of China: two Chinese-made red wines that can be called "good."
One, from Xinjiang autonomous region (the far northwest frontier of China), is Suntime Red Wine. Its Chinese-language site is here. Suntime comes from what I understand to be the biggest grape-growing operation in China. (Xinjiang, like the central valley of California, is grape paradise. Islamic Uighurs, from Xinjiang, are known among other things for selling grapes and raisins in big Chinese cities.) I've seen the wine only in a store in Urumqi*, biggest city in Xinjiang, where it cost less than $10 per bottle.
The other, more obscure, is Mogao Vineyards Pinot Noir, from Gansu province. I was told in Gansu that Mogao is considered "the home town of grape wine," because of discoveries of ancient winery operations nearby. This wine, below, is actually good. On sale in Gansu for about $24. By Chinese standards, very pricey -- but bottles of lamentable Great Wall wine cost as much.
I leave it to the wine experts from here on out.
* "Urumqi" is example #97,408 of Why We Hate Pinyin, the system for rendering Chinese sounds in western script. The town's name is actually pronounced in Chinese more like "Wu-lu-mu-qi," and that is what the four characters in its Chinese name, 乌鲁木齐, amount to. And "Urumqi" is the best pinyin can do? [Update: see next post; there is actually a difference between the Mongolian and Chinese versions of the name. Sorry!] Sure, we understand that the English name "Worcestershire" is not actually pronounced that way, but no one ever advertised English spelling as a way to simplify pronunciation.