Luckily there are others in the UK that do have stock albeit not at a retail level. Berkmann Cellars have some in stock now and have supplied to Medlar in Chelsea which is where I have tasted a glass and subsequently a whole bottle of the 2009 Changyu Golden Valley Ice Wine, Gold Diamond Label, from Liaoning.
Liaoning is a province right up in the north of China bordering onto North Korea. Nestled between the Nulu'erhu mountains towards the Mongolian border in the West and Changbai Shan and Qianshan mountain ranges to the East, the winelands are in a flat valley irrigated by the Liao river which flows through the province. The region is considered to have a monsoon climate with significant rains during the summer and dry weather for much of the rest of the year but, critically for ice wine, temperatures of down to -7c in the winter.
The "gold diamond label" (they're not one for underselling their wines, are they?!) is made from the third press of the grapes and is therefore the lightest and consequently least costly option. Served in a tall, narrow, hand blown bottle it looks different right from the off.
Made of from Vidal (a blend of Ugni blanc and Rayon d'Or), the style is not incomparable with a light Canadian Ice Wine however, both the novelty of the wine and the more attractive price point make this a goer in my eyes.
Colour-wise it is almost the colour of apricot skins, mainly a light orange with slight pinky shades. Deliciously fragrant on the nose (expect tropical fruits), it follows through and delivers on the palate too. Balanced by a good acidity to temper the sweet, slightly viscous texture. Whilst bearing the expected honeyed citrus there is also an unusual but pleasant underlying light smoky tone which I hadn't expected.
An excellent match for fruit desserts but equally delightful sipped on its own and would be lots of fun to subject people to in a blind tasting were you so cruelly minded!
Listed at Berry's now for £79.38 for 6 half bottles in bond en primeur.