THE EXHIBITION OF SAINT-EMILION – POMEROL – FRONSAC WINES IN PU’ER SUPPORTED BY THE BRILLIANT GROUP
MR. JUN YANG, HEAD OF THE TEA DEPARTMENT OF THE GROUP, AGREED TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT THE EXHIBITION AND THE LINKS BETWEEN WINE AND TEA.
There are many links between the Saint-Emilion-Pomerol-Fronsac wines and the Pu’Er teas, and one of them comes to life thanks to the Brilliant group, which specializes in the sale of prestigious teas and luxury real estate. Indeed, Ms. Xiangyun Liu, President of the group, also owns Château de La Rivière in Fronsac and a Pu’Er tea factory. Since the beginning, the Brilliant group has supported the exhibition project “When the civilizations of tea and wine come together”. Mr. Jun Yang, head of the tea department of the group, agreed to answer a few questions about the exhibition and the links between wine and tea.
YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PU’ER TEAS AND SAINT-ÉMILION-POMEROL-FRONSAC WINES FOR MANY YEARS. IN YOUR OPINION, IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A DIALOGUE BETWEEN THESE TWO WORLDS?
Pu’Er teas and red wines are all products of life, whose cultural characteristics are remarkable. They are of a different nature, of course, but they come together perfectly, historically, culturally and on a specificity level. So, there’s a real space for dialogue!
In fact, Pu’Er’s teas are a symbol of Chinese culture, while wine is also the symbol of Western culture. As soon as we put these two cultural products together, to compare them, we immediately find a number of similarities that are impressive, hence a truly delicate and very pleasant cultural dialogue!
Our Museum of Ancient Teas of Pu’er, was created by our Bolian group in Kunming, capital of the Yunnan province. After more than ten years of efforts by Ms. Liu Xiangyun, owner of the establishment, this museum already has a collection of ancient Pu’Er teas from the last century, some of which are from famous houses such as Fuyuanchang, Songpinhao, and other contemporary ones, such as the red Imprint and the Bricks dating back from the time of the cultural revolution, etc. In front of these “treasures to drink” and “living antiquities”, visitors are all amazed. The careful tasting of a Pu’Er tea or a red wine, can naturally remind you of the long history of cultural exchanges between China and the West, and then show you the radiant charms of these good things.
WHAT DOES THE THEMATIC EXHIBITION OF THE SAINT-EMILION-POMEROL-FRONSAC WINES MEAN TO THE TOWN OF PU’ER, WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE IN DECEMBER?
be held in Pu’Er town. On one hand, it will enable the people of our two countries to discover, live, the produce of our terroir and on the other hand, it will certainly bring many other opportunities for cultural exchange between the Chinese Pu’Er Teas and the French Bordeaux wines.
Bordeaux is the capital of wine, recognized by the whole world, where the appellation d’origine system was created. This has accelerated the development of wine and spread French culture throughout the world. Likewise, it has been proven that Pu’Er teas are the first teas in the world, whose original terroir is found in the basin of the river Lancang which crosses the Yunnan province. These are the ancestors of the Bulang that live in the mountain region of Jingmai, a local ethnic minority, who began to make use of wild tea, before developing and upgrading the ancient tea plants. In many historical books, there are stories about Pu’Er teas that have been transported by different routes, such as the ancient tea and horse route, the maritime silk route and the transoceanic maritime tea route. So Pu’Er teas have had an important influence on the development and spread of Chinese culture. In the present context, the meeting between the Pu’Er teas and the Bordeaux wines means a real dialogue between China and the West.
For the Pu’Er teas, there are two categories: “raw” and “mature”. It’s a bit like white wine and red wine for Bordeaux. Usually, young people prefer the freshness of the raw tea and fruity taste of white wine, while adults and especially the elderly, prefer the tenderness and suppleness of the mature tea and the mellow taste of red wine. Whether Pu’er teas or wines, all these sensory and living experiences of tasting and rich historical contexts have deeply penetrated the mind and touched the heart of our two peoples!
WHAT ARE THE VALUES COMMON TO THE PU’ER TEA AND THE SAINT-EMILION-POMEROL-FRONSAC WINES?
When we talk about the similarity between the Pu’Er teas and the red wines, there is certainly an unavoidable element that is their “collectible value”. Indeed, true value is based not only on their “tasting value”, but also on their “market value”.
As for Pu’Er teas, their tasting value depends essentially on varieties, terroirs of culture, processes of picking and elaboration. This is what “pure material from the mountaintop” says! The Pu’Er developed by our company Bolian are among the best, because they come from a tea domain that we have created and preserved. The creation of this tea estate was inspired by the ecological concept of low carbon emissions. Thus, it was built in the country of origin of the oldest tea plants and especially in an oldest zone called “core” for the production of Pu’Er teas all over China. Today, our domain has already become a versatile base of tea culture, integrating elaboration, storage, tourism and various cultural events. The creation of this domain has thus made it possible to perfectly combine the traditional process and the modern technique. Thus, a standardization of the different processes and stages, from the tea field to the cup of tea, has been achieved. This has therefore ensured the “tasting value”.
Similarly, for Bordeaux wines, their “tasting value” depends on the terroir, the climate, the soil, a microclimate even, the stocking and storage conditions in the cellars, etc. And all these factors contribute to the quality of the wine. Our Château de la Rivière, for example, occupies one of the best lands in the Bordeaux region, but it also has the largest natural and underground cellar in the region. All these conditions, together with the specific wine-making process, inherited from over a hundred years, have ensured a very high “tasting value”.
Besides, Pu’Er teas and Bordeaux red wines are above all agricultural products for consumption. They can only become valuable “collection treasures” after they have been tasted by consumers and sanctioned by the market. And so, they are able to circulate and continue to live in the market. This presence on the market reflects the desire of consumers, and their lasting confidence in the brand. In conclusion, the true core of “market value” is its reputation.
Moreover, since Pu’Er teas and Bordeaux red wines are all symbols of Chinese and French cultures, their promotion can contribute to the development of economic, commercial and diplomatic relations between our two countries.
DURING YOUR ON-SITE VISIT OF THE VARIOUS PROCESSES OF VITICULTURE, VINICULTURE AND AGING IN THE FRONSAC AREA, DID YOU NOTICE A SIMILAR PROCESS IN RELATION TO THE MAKING OF PU’ER TEAS?
Absolutely! In fact, Pu’Er teas are indeed an agricultural product with an appellation d’origine contrôlée. Like Bordeaux wines, Pu’Er teas must meet strict criteria of cultivation, picking, elaboration and storage. For the Pu’Er teas, it is primarily their “excellent genes” (originating from ancient tea plants) that essentially determine the quality of teas, whereas for Bordeaux wines, it is the terroirs that define the intrinsic characteristics of wines. In addition, we all pay close attention to the coordination and assembly processes for these two products. The co-ordination technique of Pu’Er teas reflects differences related to geography and raw materials, according to different seasons, while the blending of Bordeaux red wines is the result of a high technicality, making it possible to make a harmonious composition of different grape varieties, to ensure identical quality and style.
As for aging, for Pu’Er teas and Bordeaux wines, the older they are, the better they are. Post-fermentation gives them a better texture. These two kinds of agricultural products all need time and an environment that will allow them to transform themselves over time, with changes from one year to another. Finally, aging is a time-based baptism, which is able to give teas and wines nuanced, rich and delicate tastes!
DURING A YEAR OF CULTIVATING VINES OR TEA PLANTS, WHAT PERIOD DO YOU PREFER? WHY?
The vines and tea plants grow over the duration of a year with four seasons. They have different lives and styles, different from one season to another. When it comes to tea plants, I prefer their budding period in the spring, because, first, life returns to earth at that time, and the whole nature applauds new lives. It is really encouraging! Secondly, spring tea is for me the best quality tea all year round!
In fact, every year there are millions of tea enthusiasts who come here to discover the land of origin of tea, much like a pilgrimage. This original garden is located in our tea estate which occupies an area of more than 600 hectares, on which there are mountains covered with ancient thousand-year-old tea plants. In 2006, our company, Bolian created a new tourism method in the Jingmai mountains, which allows visitors to experience different things, including not only work in the tea fields, at the tea making workshop, at the tea serving ceremony, but also visits to the tea house, the tea village, the temple dedicated to tea, as well as the participation in the feast of the ancestors and the tea masters, to learn about the heritage and development of Chinese tea culture.
On the other hand, I like the vines in autumn, because it is the unique season for the maturation of the grapes. In the Bordeaux region, there are thousands of vineyards, in which you can see lots of grapes everywhere. These are such charming crops that no visitor can resist! This is why our Château de la Rivière has boutique guest rooms, and constantly develops tourism and especially cultural projects, in order to welcome visitors from all over the world who are eager to discover and know more about the French wine-growing industry. Situated on the right banks of Bordeaux, our Château de la Rivière has become a must-see for Bordeaux tourism, because from our château there is a splendid panoramic view over all the vineyards and the beautiful surrounding landscapes!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE TO A PASSIONATE AMATEUR OF THE SAINT-EMILION-POMEROL-FRONSAC WINES WHO WISHES TO DISCOVER THE TEAS OF PU’ER?
The Saint-Emilion-Pomerol-Fronsac wines are characterized by their suppleness and firmness in the mouth. A passionate enthusiast of this kind will be able to begin their experimentation with the Pu’Er with tea that is raw but already aged for a few years (for example, the Zhenlan, the tea made from the ancient tea plants), because after a few years of natural aging, they still retain tannic elements. They can therefore make you discover different tastes in a progressive and balanced way, from a soft taste to a fluffy taste, passing through a pleasant fluidity.
In addition, the raw teas from the Jingmai mountain are rich in floral orchid bouquet, which has a style very similar to the floral bouquet of violets in the Saint-Emilion-Pomerol-Fronsac wines! As for the mature teas, I would like to propose a variety of the royal series of Pu’Er that we just released recently, classified “relaxation of mental tension”. It is a mature tea that has been reshaped from an already ripe tea, with an advanced technique to extract its original taste, then bring it to a higher level. This technique has removed an unpleasant taste of storage that often exists in mature teas, and add a very pleasant jujube fragrance, giving an improved, more supple taste. It is a true jovial gift for beginners, whether Chinese or foreign!
AND VICE VERSA, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A PASSIONATE AMATEUR OF PU’ER TEAS WHO WANTS TO DISCOVER THE SAINT-EMILION-POMEROL-FRONSAC WINES?
Everyone knows that the Saint-Emilion-Pomerol-Fronsac region is not only a place famous for its grands crus and its viti-viniculture, but also a region rich in cultural heritage. Visitors from all over the world, whether Chinese or from other countries, can all discover this cultural richness in our Château de la Rivière.
TASTING OF PU’ER TEAS AND WINES
With a varied character, Pu’Er teas can be both very strong or very sweet. So Pu’Er tea lovers each have their own taste, more or less different from one other. But in general, they prefer, for the most part, teas with a soft texture, but also well structured, as well as red wines that have an aftertaste in the mouth. This is the reason why most of them will certainly appreciate many Saint-Emilion-Pomerol-Fronsac wines, mainly made from the Merlot grape variety! Most red wines from our Château de la Rivière are precisely from Merlot grape. We always have excellent vintages every year. So, we have won many awards internationally. We would like to welcome you in our château, and all your comments will be welcome.