Marks and Spencer is stocking some interesting wines these days. They’re shopping in a wider world than the average supermarket. I’ve had some wines from Croatia and Georgia, exploring the edges of European wine making, but this year I’ve picked up one from India and one from Japan.
My previous experience with Asian wine hasn’t been good. I had some Thai wine from a vineyard that produced three crops a year. It wasn’t a classic. My expectations were low.
This Japanese Sol Lucet Koshu is made from grapes grown at the base of Mount Fuji that have for centuries been used as table grapes, but have more recently been made into wine. The sun may shine on everyone equally, but not on these grapes. On the sunniest days the vineyard workers head out and make little paper hats for them to stop them burning. Sadly they are hats for the whole bunches, not for individual grapes. I’d like to think that individual grapes could choose whether to wear pirate hats or trilbies or little top hats depending on their moods.
This wine is pale, super pale, like water white pale. It smells … different. There’s something slightly wine like about it, but there’s also a lemony herbal smell.
It’s dry with a medium acidity and the alcohol level is low at about 11%, so it’s quite easy to drink. It tastes, interesting. At first it’s like a fairly feeble Italian white, but then there is a mineral element, something stone-like, again more Italian than French, and that lemon herbal-ness becomes more lemongrass than cough drop. Whether or not I’d have thought that if it had come from Europe I don’t know, but I knew it was Japanese so my mind had moved to Oriental flavours.
This does need some chilling, it tastes better very cold, it goes well with slightly salty things. I haven’t tried it with sushi, the recommended serving suggestion, I suspect it would be quite good.
At £13 I think this is quite expensive as a wine, but for an interesting choice that people maybe haven’t tried before, or to serve with a Japanese meal it’s a good conversation piece. Try Marks and Spencer on line for 5% off and free delivery.