Cheong Fatt Tze, The Blue Mansion Celebrates Its Founder’s Pioneering Winemaking Legacy 130 Years Later

In Malaysia, Cheong Fatt Tze, the comprador in Mandarin finery, may be chiefly known as the founder of The Blue Mansion in Penang, the majestic cultural heritage site and boutique hotel that gives visitors a glimpse into its once glittering past. However, many may not know that in his homeland, ‘the Rockefeller of China’, who is also known as Chang Bishi, is credited with being the founder of the country’s oldest and largest winery.

In 1892, the patriot invested heavily to establish the Changyu Pioneer Wine Company in Yantai, Shandong. For four years, he experimented by importing 124 different wine grape varieties and successfully cultivated China’s first-generation wine grape varieties. He also recruited foreign winemaking talent, such as Max von Balboa, vice-consul of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who hailed from a winemaking family. In 1915, Chang quite literally saw the fruits of his labour when Changyu was awarded at the Panama Pacific International Exposition, being the first Chinese wine and brandy to win a grand award on an international stage.

Presently, Changyu boasts 14 chateaux and 21 wineries, making it the most widely distributed enterprise in the global wine field. This includes a grandiose European-styled mansion, the Longyu estate, which even Austen’s Mr Darcy would be impressed by; it cost approximately RM537 million to construct in 2012. Located at the eastern foot of Helan Mountain in Ningxia, the grapes there boast loose clusters, small berries and thick skins, which result in more concentrated and rich flavour compounds. Grapes are handpicked and go through an optical sorting machine before being aged in high-quality oak barrels.

“Changyu wines are the essence of the Chinese terroir—taste notes and aromas are unique to these areas,” says Jiang Wenguang, Chief Winemaker of Longyu Estate, who is touted as a first-class wine taster at a national level. “Our wines are produced with our innovations and techniques such as Longyu’s ‘red brewed into white’ Cabernet Sauvignon dry white wine, which set a precedent as the world’s first Cabernet Sauvignon dry white wine.”

Their wine is served in Michelin-starred restaurants such as Vendôme in Germany, Burj Al Arab in Dubai, and even by President Xi Jinping to entertain foreign guests. More than 130 years later, Cheong Fatt Tze’s legacy comes full circle as it returns to The Blue Mansion where Changyu wines and brandies are now served.

Among these is the Longyu Estate Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine (RM799), aged for 24 months in a new French fine-grained high-end oak barrel. Its taste is mellow and sweet, delicate and compact in structure, reflecting the terroir characteristics of its producing region.

For a taste of a player from the eau de vie premier league, sample the Koya Brandy XO 15 Years (RM1,099), which swept the ‘Gold Medal’ at the Concours Mondial De Bruxelles 2015. Connoisseurs will appreciate its multi-layered bouquet of dried yellow plums, rose petals, caramel, and dark chocolate with complex aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.

To purchase, contact their PR representatives directly at +60102588049 (Resper) or +60189778905 (Kelly), or visit Cheong Fatt Tze, The Blue Mansion in Penang.


Cheong Fatt Tze, The Blue Mansion

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