Trained in France and a consultant for a half-dozen wineries in Ningxia, Deng Zhongxiang has tried his hand at grapes ranging from Cabernet to Pinot Noir to—surprise, surprise—Malbec. He also makes Marselan for wineries like Charme, Lansai and Rong Yuan Mei, so I asked him a few questions about his experience.
Boyce: Could you tell us about your first experience with Marselan?
Deng: Actually, that wine was from Pu Shang in Ningxia. It had amazing aromas of pure blueberry and violet. So delicate. Very impressive.
How does Marselan fit into Ningxia’s climate and terrain?
This variety has good disease resistance, thick skin and deep color. It’s very suitable for the strong sunshine of Ningxia and reaches ideal maturity.
There is debate about whether Marselan is for single varietal or for blending. What’s your take?
It depends on what style or type of wine you are going to make. Marselan is beautiful in color, excellent in aroma and soft in taste, but lacking in structure and hierarchy. If you just want to make fruity wine, a single variety will achieve that goal. But if you want more advanced wine, the key is how to supplement the structure and increase the sense of complexity.
What is the consumer response to Marselan?
Chinese consumers love it! People in China don’t like too much tannin and acidity, they like a soft wine.
What foods do you like to pair with Marselan?
For its delicate taste, I prefer fine meats such as mutton, but roast chicken or roast duck is no problem.
(Check out more Marselan Q&A here.)