In pursuit of creating a great Chinese wine, Moët Hennessy has unveiled the first vintage of Ao Yun, that means “flying above the clouds”, a reference to the clouds that cap the summits of the Himalayan mountains. The brand’s vineyards, are situated in Yunnan province, near the legendary city of Shangri-La on the edge of the Himalayas and rise to altitudes up to 2,600 meters at the foot of the sacred Meili Mountain. The estate’s first wine, the 2013 vintage, is a truly exceptional and rare experience.
Conceived by Christophe Navarre, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Moët Hennessy, Ao Yun is an ambitious new winery in a virgin terroir where vineyards had never before been planted. The Yunnan region that has fantastic potential, boasts rich culture and breathtaking landscapes was the ideal location for this project. Moët Hennessy and estate director Maxence Dulou had accepted the challenge to develop a French grape variety that had never been grown at 2,600 meters. The banks of the Mekong, an area that enjoys intense sunlight and very cool nights given the altitude, enables cabernet sauvignon to reveal the best of this unique terroir.
Ao Yun has been developed from small parcels of vines, totaling 30 hectares around four villages. The grape harvest and production is done by hand by residents of the villages. The new vintage is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Merlot which has been barrelled in 40% new oak. It is estimated that a total of 24,000 bottles will initially be sold, however that figure could rise to 50,000 in the next five years.