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KANAAN WINERY: PROVING ‘NEIGH-SAYERS’ WRONG?

Kanaan’s range of wines which are inspired by the winemaker’s love of horses could buck Hong Kong’s European wine drinking trends as they launch in the city later on this month.

Its 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend was described by Jancis Robinson during a Chinese wine tasting as: “The wine that I thought was best of all turned out to be made by a Chinese woman called Crazy Fang on a new Ningxia estate called Kanaan,” and now wine drinkers of Hong Kong will be able to get their hands on further offerings from the Chinese winery, courtesy of Summergate.

Kanaan nestles in the foothills of Ningxia’s Helan Mountain which is known in the region for producing high quality Chinese wine and where other estates have set up shop, including Pernod Ricard’s Helan Mountain, Silver Heights and LVMH’s Chandon China.

The driving force behind Kanaan Winery is Wang Fang (better known as Crazy Fang) who returned to her homeland in 2011 and followed in her father’s footsteps of making wine.

The range (whose names and labels are inspired by Fang’s love of horses) includes the entry level, Wild Pony, a blend of Cabernet Gernischt, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; another Cabernet/Merlot blend, Black Beauty; a Riesling and an off-dry blend of Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Fang’s Pretty Pony made from small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Kanaan’s premium vineyards has already made headlines; scooping the Asia Regional Trophy at the 2013 Decanter China Awards and also the Best Chinese Wine Award at the Wine100 event in Shanghai last year.

Fang said at the time: “Pretty Pony is the result of my dream that the new emerging China fine wine industry is young and of full energy like my ‘Pretty Pony’ and I hope Chinese fine wine are ready to thrive to be stronger and better and one day showcase to the world how exciting Chinese fine wine could be.”

Despite what neigh-sayers may say about Chinese wines, the launch of Kanaan in Hong Kong could be a sign that Chinese wine should be taken seriously in a city known for its loyalty to French fancies.

 

 

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History

One of the famous Chinese boutique wineries run by the esteemed winemaker, Wang Fang. After spending 12 years abroad, she returned to China and followed her father's footsteps in fine wine making in Ningxia.

Kanaan is an expression her love for Ningxia as well as the passion for horses. The Horse motif runs throughout the Kanaan story as a tribute to the Mountain and ancient local word for horse of “Helan”.

The Kanaan Name is Fang’s tribute to the Promised land of the bible, her return to Ningxia and her homeland.

Her father has been a huge influence on the viticulture of fine wine in Ningxia, the Vineyards he began planting some 15 years ago now produce some of the finest wines in China both from Kanaan and other up and coming producers in Ningxia.

Kanaan Winery makes six different wines – 4 reds: Pretty Pony, Wild Pony, Black Beauty, Crazy Fang, and 2 whites: Riesling and Semi-Sweet White Wine.

 

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Inside information

Why Wang was named 'Crazy Fang' 

The international wine exhibition she attended with her father had such an impact on her that the following year she returned to China to start her own winery without any experience.

“Looking back, I can see that the persistence for crafting fine wines was already running in my veins,” she says.

In 2011, she opened Kanaan Winery in Ningxia. Her father taught her a lot about viticulture, but she says she had her own idea about what type of wines and cellar operation she wanted.

The nickname “Crazy Fang” was floating around for a bit before it was made popular by UK wine critic Jancis Robinson in 2014. It refers to Wang’s so-called ‘crazy’ idea to start a winery with no professional experience, but also to the pioneering nature of the Wang family.

It’s not Wang’s Riesling, but two of her reds that have hit Australia first, Kanaan Pretty Pony 2013and Kanaan Black Beauty 2012. They reflect Wang’s personal taste: “fruity, fully-bodied lively wines with refined tannins”.

Pretty Pony is the awarded flagship wine of the Kanaan Winery, made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (90 per cent) and Merlot (10 per cent). It’s full-bodied with black fruit, coffee, cinnamon and chocolate aromas and flavours, with fine-grained persistent tannins and mineral length.

Black Beauty is also a Cabernet Sauvignon (70 per cent) and Merlot (30 per cent) blend. It’s highly aromatic and elegantly structured with pure cassis, red cherry, blueberry fruits, spicy nuances and fine-grained yet supple tannins.

The horse theme is a nod to the Helan Mountains in Ningxia.

"The mountains move like horses running at the edge of the sky. I love and admire these beautiful creatures because they are powerful and elegant – qualities I aspire to capture in the wines I create."

“When you drive along them, the mountains move like horses running at the edge of the sky. I love and admire these beautiful creatures because they are powerful and elegant – qualities I aspire to capture in the wines I create,” says Wang.

She says she’s excited to be launching her wines in Australia, especially because many people celebrate Chinese New Year around the country.

“The dining and drinking is a very important part of the Chinese New Year tradition. I expect that Chinese Australians will be interested to try the best wines from their homeland during this special time,” she says.

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