The Marselan grape is gaining traction worldwide and now it has crossed to the beer world. A Maovember fundraising event last November doubled as the launch of a beer made with Marselan grapes, as Beijing-based craft brewers Jing-A popped the caps on a concoction that included fruit from Grace Vineyard in Shanxi with their wild yeast ale.
The event was headed by Jing-A brewers Kristian Li and Alex Acker plus winemakers Lee Yeanyean of Grace Vineyard and Tong Lili of Manzhouxiang, who both poured Marselans. Jim Boyce of the Grape Wall of China website brought five Marselan wines from across China, including Treaty Port in Shandong, which provided bottles specifically for the event. Some beer lovers got their first taste ever of quality local wines via these Marselan products.
Here’s the tasting note by Jing-A: “A special Marselan grape variant of our series of lambic-inspired wild ales! Brewed with a fresh, vine-to-tank harvest of crushed Marselan grapes from Grace Vineyard Shanxi, fermented with a mixed culture of Brett, Pedio, and Lacto, and then conditioned on oak for 6 weeks. Pleasing tartness is complemented by ripe stone fruit and wine notes, leading to a sparkling dry finish.”
Some of the Marselan beer has been put into used Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for up to a year of further aging, which means more interesting taste tests ahead!