37th London Wine Fair – 2017

37th London Wine Fair – 2017

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37th London Wine Fair 2017

The London Wine Fair, with over 10,000 wines to sample, is always an event of fascinating wine discoveries. From the chalk downs terroir of Hampshire, England to the arid lands of the Turpan Valley, Xinjiang, China; and from the chalky-clay and gravelly soils of Bergerac, Dordogne, to the sandy, chalky, limestone-rich soils of Valencia, Spain – there were some amazing tasting experiences.

For the first tastings, I decided to concentrate on the numerous smaller French producers of Champagne. I was particularly impressed with the high standard from these lesser-known producers. Naturally Champagne tastes vary, and if food matching is normally a case of complementing the food against grape (varieties) and added sugar. So I am just going to list those champagnes that I enjoyed the most.

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North Korea: a vexing situation for the USA and China

North Korea’s Pukguksong-2 test increases the tension

North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), has again provoked international condemnation whilst developing its current ballistic missile and nuclear programme.

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North Korea: Pukguksong-2 missile test

On 12th February 2017, North Korea launched a Pukguksong-2 missile (North Star 2, 북극성 2), from a tracked mobile launch vehicle. The solid-fuel missile is believed to have reached an altitude of 340 miles (550km) and travelled downrange 310 miles (510km) into the East Sea. The missile fell into North Korean territorial waters of the East Sea (disputed by Japan, which it considers it to be the Sea of Japan), and did not pose any risk to Japan. This missile test was primarily of chief concern for the participating nations of the Six-Party talks.
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Soy Sauce Casks and a History of Shenyang, Northeast China (Dongbei)

Soy Sauce Casks and History of Shenyang, Northeast China (Dongbei)

On a recent visit to Shenyang, Liaoning province, Northeast China (Dongbei), I discovered an interesting earthenware container or cask. The blue-white cask had, I was told, been excavated at some time during the 1980s at Taiyuan Jie, near Shenyang Railway Station.

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Soy Sauce cask discovered at Taiyuan Jie, Shenyang, Liaoning province, China

At first sight, the rope-banded style cask seemed to be of Chinese origin. After further inspection, I considered that it might be a sake container or cask from the Japanese Meiji period (23 October 1868 – 30July 1912 ). Meiji period earthenware is generally characterised by blue and white decoration. Continue reading “Soy Sauce Casks and a History of Shenyang, Northeast China (Dongbei)”

Does the US Need a Reality Check?

‘US needs Reality Check’: A China View of US Foreign Policy

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China President Xi Jinping with US President Barak Obama

During my stay in Beijing last year, I came across a thought provoking editorial entitled ‘US needs reality check ‘ (China Daily newspaper, 30th May 2014). Alongside the editorial was another article: ‘Time for China to go it alone’, an interesting juxtaposition. One might interpret this juxtaposition, as the decline of the United States as global leader and the rise of China’s territorial ambitions! Continue reading “Does the US Need a Reality Check?”