Yao Family Wines
by Barnaby Hughes
Former pro basketball player Yao Ming has not been idle since retiring from the Houston Rockets in July 2011. In addition to enrolling at the Shanghai Jaio Tong University and working on behalf of elephant conservation, the thirty-year old has begun producing a pair of premium Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons.
Yao Ming and Tom Hinde, President and Director of Winemaking of Yao Family Wines, presented the portfolio at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles recently. The grapes are sourced from multiple Napa sub-appellations and include small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
An excellent example of its type, the $150 Yao Ming 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is well-balanced and fruity with silky tannins. We give it a rating of 16/20. Just a few thousand cases of it were produced, of which more than half will be sold in Yao’s native China where it was initially released. The wine can be purchased directly from the winery by those on the exclusive allocation list as well as at select fine retailers and restaurants in cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Houston.
Only a few hundred cases of the $625 Yao Ming Family Reserve 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were produced. Boasting more intense and concentrated flavors than its counterpart, the wine earned a rating of 16.5/20 and a place on our Top Rated Cabernet Sauvignons. Yao hopes to expand the portfolio in the future.
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