Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Curious Grape

Wine. English Wine.
Curious Grape
English Wine

In a nod to our British Man in Abiko (no, not Abiko in south Osaka, some remote northern outpost of the same name) and his fearless exploration of the depths of oenology, here's something you don't see every day. English wine. As in, grown, fermented and bottled in the British isles; a place, we should note, not hysterically famous for its long, hot, sunny summers and rarefied terroir.

What was it like? Good. A lot of flavour (a full body, I think it's called), fairly acidic and a little sweet, but not too much. Worked really well with our dinner of steamed clams and mushroom risotto. I'd be delighted to drink it again, actually.

It makes me wonder, though. I don't see English or other non-traditional wine countries promoting themselves very much. Japanese, like most other consumers, are normally rather proud of their local produce and prefer it over imports, but it seems local vintners are almost ashamed of admitting that yes, it's actually grown and made in Japan. Kobe wine, for instance, is quite good, but even in Kobe it's usually sold cheaply rather than promoted as a local product. This is completely opposite from most other local specialities of course; usually nothing is too weird not to be pushed as a local speciality in this country.

Are wine producers intimidated by the brand strength of the traditional producers? Don't they have confidence in their own product? Because from my point of view - as someone who likes wine but is happy with the inexpensive end - this English wine, or Kobe wine, is fully as good as the French or Italian stuff. If you're the kind of wine drinker that recognizes and appreciates high-end wine then things are likely different of course, but really, that just isn't most of us.


Our Man in Abiko said...

Cheers! Our Man also discovered some good Chile Cab Sauv wine by the carton - The formula is 1.8lx¥980x13%=zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. But can't now remember brand or where he picked it up.

One hears that global warming is playing wonders for the growing British wine industry. We'll soon be giving Liebfraumilch a run for her money.

Carry on.

Anonymous said...

hysterically famous British wine