Ja­panese wine on the rise

Paradise - - Departure Lounge -

The Ja­panese love their shochu, sake, whisky and beer, and lately even their wine, es­pe­cially if it’s made from the emerg­ing and in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar koshu grape grown in the Ya­manashi Pre­fec­ture (the Bordeaux of Ja­pan) in the foothills of Mount Fuji.

I vis­ited Ya­manashi re­cently and was sur­prised and im­pressed by


koshu. It’s a white ta­ble wine with a flavour that sits some­where be­tween sauvi­gnon blanc and ries­ling, and as such pairs beau­ti­fully with Ja­panese cui­sine – es­pe­cially sashimi, sushi and tem­pura.

Pale in colour and light bod­ied, it’s low in al­co­hol with a crisp acid­ity and a clean fin­ish. Aro­mat­i­cally, it’s a melange of cit­rus and stone fruit.

It’s re­fresh­ingly easy to drink and its pu­rity and lim­pid­ity give it a ‘Zen-like’ char­ac­ter, ac­cord­ing to world-renowned wine author­ity Jan­cis Robin­son.

Koshu wine is not new to Ja­pan; how­ever, its qual­ity has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally over the past decade. In 2010 it was the first Ja­panese grape va­ri­ety to be cer­ti­fied by the Euro­pean Union.

It is start­ing to pop up in some of Asia’s top Ja­panese restau­rants and is served at Ja­pan’s over­seas em­bassies. It’s even reached as far south as Aus­tralia.

Tra­di­tion­ally, wine is sel­dom served with lo­cal cui­sine in Ja­pan; how­ever, koshu is start­ing to gain a wider ac­cep­tance, both do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

In­side ... one of the lux­u­ri­ous tent bed­rooms at Men­jan­gan.

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