Gem Winery ‘2nd Ningxia Winemaker’s Challenge’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

This wine is one that was made as part of the Ningxia Wine Regions ‘Winemaker’s Challenge as sponsored by the Chinese government, The Ningxia wine region is in the foothills of the Helan mountains, which divide inner and outer Mongolia, and is part of the Gobi desert. The challenge involves inviting 60 winemakers from 23 countries, pairing them with a winery to make a Cabernet Sauvignon from a 3 ha block, which is part of a large vineyard. The main objective is to promote the exchange of techniques and knowledge between both parties, and also to promote the region.

Leonardo Ricardez was one of the invited winemakers and was paired with Gem Winery, which actually hadn’t been built, but the owner rented space at another winery. Leonardo noted considerable variability between and within blocks, making direct comparisons somewhat difficult. In his block, there were Carmenere vines mixed with the Cabernet Sauvignon, which was included in the vinification. Leonardo’s approach was to make an elegant wine to showcase the region, thus emphasising the fruit. The partnership made 10, 000 bottles. 5,000 bottles went to the winery owner, who intends selling her wine in China. The organisers received 3,000 bottles, and the Leonardo received 2,000 bottles. He is considering selling his portion of the wine in New Zealand. I review the wine here. To contact Leonardo for availability, email: [email protected] He is based in Blenheim.


  • Gem Winery ‘2nd Ningxia Winemaker’s Challenge’ Ningxia Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

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