Although the combination of the words “Asia” and “wines” in a sentence might seem foreign to many of us, the truth is that wines were being made in Asia many moons ago.
Unfortunately people don’t pay as much attention as they should to new world wines, especially Asian wines. Most people only know about the history and prestige of old world wines.
We always hear people ask, why should I try an Asian wine if I don't know it's good?
But remember when we were kids and thought peanut butter with apples, roast pork with apple sauce or Char-Siu with cheese were considered weird?
It was only after we tried and experienced the combinations ourselves that we could enjoy their unique deliciousness. The same applies to Asian wines.
In 2017 you ought to take Asian wines seriously. Stare wide-eyed at the words “Asia” and “wines” if you must but trust us, they’re here now and you should’ve been on the Asian wine bandwagon yesterday.
So read the whole article to learn why you should drink Asian wine today.
Russia: One of Asia’s winemaking countries
When we think about “wines” made in Asia, we think of rice wines like Sake, Sochu or plum wines instead of wines made with grapes. However there is at least one old legend that grape-growing in Japan occurred as early as 718 AD and today China is the world’s seventh largest producer of wine.
Aside from China, wines are made all over Asia today. There are good wineries in Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, India, Russia, China and Japan.
The viticulture and winemaking practices in Asia tend to be quite different from those of the old world countries because of Asia’s unique climate, topography and soils. Typically wine grapes are harvested only once a year in the northern and southern hemispheres but they can be harvested up to three times a year in Thailand, which is near the equator.
Asian winemakers have pioneered new approaches to winemaking to make wines suited to their environment, so let’s celebrate and take advantage of their ingenuity with a glass of their wines, eh?
Want to know more about Asian wine regions? Click here to learn about 3 Southeast Asian Wine Regions You've Never Heard About
Grace Vineyard in Yamanashi, Japan
Asian Wine Quality
Ah, the million-dollar question. It’s ok to start with baby steps in drinking Asian wines, but once your palate has experienced that magic liquid you’ll see Asian wines from a whole new perspective.
Eddie McDougall, founder of The Flying Winemaker and Chairman of Asian Wine Review, has tasted hundreds of wines from across Asia and observed firsthand just how high the quality of the wines has become in the last few years.
If you want to learn more about Asian wines and which ones to buy, check out the Asian Wine Review (AWR) to begin your Asian wine journey. AWR was created in 2016 as a platform to help winemakers in Asia objectively analyse and benchmark their wines.
It’s your golden ticket for entering the wonderful world of Asian wines.
Eddie McDougall, founder of The Flying Winemaker and Chairman of Asian Wine Review (AWR) blind tasting white wines from Asia at AWR 2017
Entertaining with Asian Wines
Newsflash, Asian wines pair very well with food! Venture out of your comfort zone and grow your cultural knowledge by trying an Asian wine at your next gathering.
The possibility of creating something spectacular is endless; you can pair Asian wines with western food, or Asian wines with Asian food, or if you’re up to the challenge match your Asian meal to the origin of your wines.
For example, Japan Grace Winery’s Hokkaido Kerner Late Harvest dessert wine made with Kerner grapes pairs well with a Japanese curry or a light Japanese dessert.
Want to learn how to pair wines with the most common Asian dishes like sushi, kimchi, or Thai takeout? Read our article Best Wine Styles To Buy For Asian Food
If you want others to think you really know wine, be the first of your friends to learn about some of Asia’s unique varieties like Koshu. Koshu is an indigenous Japanese variety of grape that has been grown in the country for at least 1000 years.
Koshu wine is typically light-bodied with citrus and peachy notes and retains a refreshing minerality and crisp acidity.
Koshu: Probably the prettiest grape varietal known to exist with its beautiful rosé coloured grapes
I Say Yes, I Do
To drinking Asian wines, of course. Many of us may still be a bit hesitant when it comes to choosing Asian wines, but the desire for more interesting and obscure wines worldwide is clearly evident, much like the craft beer craze.
Say yes to Asian wines, cheers!
Even restaurants in Asia are catching on and many now list Asian wines on their menu. We personally see many people try them and whether they are visitors, expats or residents they are all intrigued and surprised.
Their experiences can be clearly seen on social media and in the spread of Asian wines internationally.
Now you know what to say if someone asks, why drink Asian wines? Asian wine is no longer a gimmick.
Pushed rapidly forward by the many talented and well-trained local winemakers, the Asian wine scene is turning from a caterpillar into a majestic butterfly.
The next time you hear about Asian wines on the news it won’t be about a counterfeit Bordeaux but instead will be about how Asian wines are winning international awards.
Wines of Asia are no longer a secret but are well and truly here. Ladies and gents, let the Asian wine revolution begin.
Interested in finding out more about Asian wines?