Bonding, Zhejiang Style

Dinner with the folks from Longjing winery. It’s the infamous and dreaded ganbei with full pitchers of the local pour.

Yes, my face is red.  I am told I managed to quaff about a liter of huangjiu between dinner and the unofficial meetings afterwards. The next morning I was about as hung over as I have been in decades, but it was not as bad as it would have been if I had been drinking different or lower-quality spirits.

It is a bummer that really good huangjiu is hard to find in the US. It is very easy to develop a taste for the stuff, and at about 15% ABV it fills a niche between wine or strong IPA beers on one end and spirits on the other. This is much more like a richer version of sake than grain-based paint-thinners like Maotai or Wuliangye, and is a superb substitute for brandy or port.

If you get a chance, give it a try. It will surprise you.

Will Ferment in China Spill Over into America?

Shaoxing rice wine ferments peacefully in the vast sheds of the storied Longjing winery.

This is the Chateau Lafite-Rothschild of rice wine, in my humble but relatively experienced opinion. The vintage we had at lunch was smooth and perfect, very unlike the knockoff bilge-water poured down my throat years ago in Taiwan.

There is a future in America for huangjiu, provided these wonderful people bring the good stuff to the US and leave the local equivalent of Two-Buck Chuck at home.