Japanese wine on the rise
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.