When we think of Japan and alcohol, most people would think of Sake. Perhaps a few might think of beer, or whisky. But wine?
Koshu is Japan’s very own grape, the result of a hybrid crossing some thousand years ago, between Vitis vinifera and an unknown indigenous species. Grown almost entirely within the Yamanashi Prefecture, Koshu is usually made for local markets. But in recent years, and through no small effort from producers such as Grace and Lumiere, Koshu is starting to gain some international recognition.
The wines produced from Koshu are quite similar to Muscadet from the Loire, in that they are very light-bodied, crisp, and best drunk young. Also, like Muscadet, the better examples are produced Sur Lie, to add complexity and body to the wines. Citrus notes together with stony minerals are typical on the nose, while the palate shows delicate citrus and lees complexity. Not surprisingly, Koshu is a terrific match for delicate Japanese cuisine.
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