Monday, 31 January 2011
Sunday, 30 January 2011
Japanese wine is having something of a moment. Last week a series of events were held in London to showcase Japan's winemaking prowess to the city's wine elite, including a lunch attended by a who's who of the wine world: Michael Broadbent, Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson to name but three.
The focus was on Japan's flagship white grape, Koshu. Helping to build a buzz around Japan's great white hope, Jancis Robinson MW was enlisted to host a Koshu seminar at the Koshu of Japan trade tasting, in which she described the grape, which is being marketed as an alternative to saké for matching with Japanese food, as 'quietly gallant'. Made in the Yamanashi Prefecture, the Japanese government has put its support behind a campaign to promote Koshu in the UK and other European export markets, targeting Japanese restaurants.
My encounter with Koshu came at Saki restaurant in Farringdon, at a dinner hosted by Hirohisa Imai, owner of Sadoya, one of Japan's leading producers. Light bodied and almost transparent, the tank sample of 2010 Sadoya Zenkouji Kitahara Koshu had delicate, yuzu citrus flavours, along with hints of lychee and lime blossom. Jancis accurately describes its purity as 'zen-like'.
Sat beside Imai at the dinner was long-term friend and former owner of Château Cos d'Estournel Bruno Prats. I wondered whether Prats harboured dreams of a Japanese wine project, to add to his Portuguese, Chilean, South African and Spanish ventures, but he assured me he has no plans to invest in Japan, and that his final wine project, an old vine Monastrell from Alicante called 'Alfinal', or 'the end' in Spanish, will launch at Vinexpo in Bordeaux this June.
The accompanying Sadoya Cabernet Sauvignon sparkling rosé was an attractive onion skin pink, and had persistent petillance and a feminine nose of summer fruits. A simple sashimi selection followed, which matched incredibly well with the crisp, citrusy Koshu. We then moved on to scallop, king prawn and Lotus root kakiage (tempura) that looked like a tumor but tasted divine. Crunchy and moorish, it's the Japanese equivalent of beer battered cod. The matching 2004 dry Semillon was decidedly dull, and almost ghostly in its lack of character.
Saturday, 29 January 2011
Sunday, 23 January 2011
Friday, 21 January 2011
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Monday, 17 January 2011
Wine and the City catches up with Olivier Leriche, owner and winemaker of Domaine de L'Arlot in Nuits-Saint-Georges, at the Corney & Barrow Burgundy 2009 En Primeur tasting at the Tower of London to talk biodynamics, characteristics of the ’09 vintage, and a growing interest from the Asian market.