Enlightenment and extreme sport
It began as a gleam in the eye, as foreign producers poured fruitfully into China’s bottomless barrel of wine and spirits while its drinks makers reinvented themselves for luxury consumers. The year was 2006. Inevitably, someone asked: surely there is terroir that transcends Bordeaux, Burgundy, Pomerol or Piedmont? This was as much a question of sport as it was of business. It was taken up by the then Moet Hennessy chairman and CEO, Christophe Navarre. Thus began the quest.
It took two years, says Christophe Chauvet, LVMH international director of estates and wines. The terroir found for Moet Hennessy’s ground-up, grand cru is arresting and spectacular in its natural beauty – and just as hard to reach. Making Ao Yun would be an extreme sport that demands commitment. The air up there is thin, so tasting and final blending are done at a lower altitude, where oxygen levels are