Make no mistake; there is little similarity between traditional Chinese wines and wines from the vineyards. Chinese wines are brewed from grains such as millet, rice, glutinous rice, and wheat, rather than grapes. They are also closer in taste and texture to spirits and liquor.
白酒 (Bai Jiu—White wines) tends to taste sharp and fiery while 黄酒 (Huang Jiu—Yellow wines) projects a milder fragrance and is a little sweeter.
Embark on a journey to explore the different types of Chinese wines with us today.
- Distilled alcoholic spirit
- Mostly clear and colourless
- 40-60% alcohol content
- Usually made from sorghum, but can include rice, corn, barley, wheat and even peas
- Mouthfeel and strength more similar to vodka than wine
- Informally known as “Firewater”
- 浓香 (Nong Xiang—Thick) – Relatively sweet, stronger and longer lasting aroma
- 酱香 (Jiang Xiang—Sauce) –Fragrant; similar aroma to soy sauces and bean pastes
- 清香 (Qing Xiang—Light) – Light, delicate and dry in texture and flavor; clean, mellow mouthfeel
- 蜂香 (Feng Xiang—Honey)- Subtle and sweet; honeyed
- 茅台 (Mao Tai) – Jiang Xiang
One of the most illustrious traditional Chinese wines, the Mao Tai offers tasters an incredibly pure and unique aroma reminiscent to soy sauce.
- 五粮液 (Wu Liang Ye) –Nong Xiang Brewed from five different grains: millet, long grained rice, glutinous rice, wheat, and corn. Rich, lasting floral notes.
- 国窖 (Guo Jiao) – Nong Xiang “National Cellar” – the only state-owned cellar and is considered by some to be part of China’s national cultural heritage. Aged fragrance that belies an elegant, velvety mouth, crisp and clean.
- 水井坊 (Shui Jing Fang) – Nong Xiang
Distilled from virgin well water by Shui Jing Fang distillery; spicy and sweet with fruity notes.
- Fermented alcoholic beverage
- Light yellow, reddish brown, black
- 20% alcohol content
- Brewed from grains like millet, rice, and wheat
- Highly dynamic with a myriad of colours, aroma and tastes
- 干 (Gan—Dry) – Minimal amounts of sugar -not exceeding 1%.
- 半干 (Ban Gan—Semi-dry) – 1%- 3% sugar
- 半甜 (Ban Tian—Semi- sweet) – 3%- 10% sugar
- 甜 (Tian— Sweet) – 10%-20% sugar
- 浓甜 (Nong Tian—Extra sweet) – More than 20% sugar
- 绍兴酒 (Shao Xing Jiu) – Semi-dry
Made of brown glutinous rice. Internationally more renowned than 花雕酒 (Hua Diao Jiu). Named after the region of 绍兴 (Shao Xing), where the wine originated. Drinking-grade Shao Xing wines are matured for 8, 10, or even more than 50 years.
- 女儿红 (Nu’er Hong) – Semi-sweet
Made of brown glutinous rice. Traditionally, Nu’er Hong would be buried on the day a daughter turned a month old, and broken out on the daughter’s wedding day to celebrate the union. Bottles would be decorated with red paper and bright colours, putting the “红 (Hong—Red)” in Nu’er Hong.
- 花雕酒 (Hua Diao Jiu) – Semi-dry
Made of glutinous rice & wheat. Named after the delicate floral carvings and decorations on the jars. Floral patterns were included onto the pottery of the Nu’er Hong and given to people, giving Hua Diao wine its name.
Good Chinese wines can be paired with exquisite seafood dishes at Grand Shanghai. Crab, in particular, goes spectacularly well with Hua Diao Jiu. Do not miss the famed Hairy Crab season from late October to early December every year. This is when you can enjoy Hua Diao Jiu with fresh Hairy Crabs.
We look forward to receiving you at Grand Shanghai where great wine intertwines with delightful fare. Step right in; allow us to serve you good wines and delicate seafood, done the Shanghainese way.