Japanese Wine hits London

January is the beginnning of wine tasting season in the London. I’ve been so busy going to events that I have been woefully neglecting The Wineslueth but now I’ve made a promise to myself to get back into the blogging habit. Let’s start off with the most interesting tasting last week – wines from Japan.  Japanese wine is breaking into the London market (or at least trying to). The Japanese came to town last week with one of their oldest grape varietals, koshubudo or koshu for short. 15 wine producers have banded together to form the Koshu of Japan (KOJ) association to ensure quality and promote the varietal to the world. Speaking to one of the producers, he told me that koshu was brought to Japan a thousand or so years ago and came from the Caucusus. I suppose a thousand years is long enough for a varietal to be considered indigenous. Koshu is grown in the Yamanashi province close to Mount Fuji and there are 80 wineries producing not only koshu but also international varietals like chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, cab franc and merlot among others. Many of the wineries go back to the late 1880’s but the majority were founded between the two major world wars. Wines made from 100% Koshu was on tasting last week at the Imagination Gallery in Central London. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the wines.  The general characteristics, pale, straw coloured wines with a pronounced citrus flavour profile. I also found distinctive mineral notes in many of the wines, the product of the volcanic soils where the vineyards are located. Many of the wines were also aged in barrels or sur lees which gave the wines body. I got to chatting with  the winemaker of Diamond Winery, founded in 1939 as a cooperative and then converted to a winery in 1963,  Yoshio Amemiya. Yoshio spent 3 years overseas, studying winemaking techniques in Bordeaux, Burgundy and one other place in France. In 2003...

read more
%d bloggers like this: