I recently attended a tutored tasting led by two Masters of Wine, Jancis Robinson and Lynne Sheriff, where we tasted 10 wines, including 1 sparkling, all made from the grape variety Koshu.
Koshu is a white grape variety that is grown in the Yamanashi region of Japan and it is different to anything I’ve tasted before – honestly.
There is pronounced acidity in the wines, meaning they are very fresh and refreshing, but in almost the exact opposite way a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is refreshing. While a NZ Sauvignon Blanc will be intensely aromatic with pungent flavours that almost make your mouth pucker, the Koshu was soft, delicate – almost dainty.
Some of the wines were slightly more potent than others, but certainly the overall theme was subtlety and delicacy. It would make sense that they would pair perfectly with sushi and sashimi (and I’m looking forward to experimenting!) and I would be curious to see how they do with other cuisines. Some people in the room mentioned they’d had Koshu with a variety of foods before and they admitted being surprised at how well the wines complemented the food.
While I don’t imagine Koshu will be the next big wine trend, because it is rather an acquired taste and is also quite expensive, I do think you’ll start seeing them pop up, especially in restaurants that are daring and imaginative with their wine lists. Finding one in a high street supermarket may take a bit longer, but here in London a couple of the wines we tasted are available at Selfridges.
My favourites from the tasting were:
Haramo Koshu 2001, Rubaiyat Koshu 2011, Yamanashi Koshu 2011 and Grace VSP 2011.
Have you tried Koshu? I’d love to hear what you think – please leave a comment below. Thanks!
Here’s to trying something new, learning something new and enjoying every glass a whole lot more.
Tara – Wine Passionista