Friday, October 26, 2007

Goats Do Roam In Villages

Goats Do Roam In Villages,
South Africa
24,000 won Les Vins Maeils, Jamsil

This is a wine I was a fan of back in England and therefore I am not going to give it a big write up. It is a 7-8 pound wine in the UK, making this look not too bad a price here. This is a blend of 80% Syrah(Shiraz) and 20% Pinotage. It has a screw cap which will please all but the ultra-traditionalists I think and is really an excellent wine. A great colour in the glass it has a distinct dark fruit and spice aroma and is just full bodied enough to make you stop and think when it hits the palate. It has lovely plums and cherries with good hints of spice and tannins that are really well integrated giving a perfect wine for the coming cold months. You can't argue with it really. A super wine. The white that Goats Do Roam do is also excellent and I let Les Vins Maeils know this. You never know.........

The Chosun Ilbo has had a couple of interesting articles on wine this week. The first, here, was by their corespondent in France and he makes a comparison between the Korean wine market and the last two French Presidents. The thrust of his argument is that Korea used to be like Sarkozy who doesn't like wine and now they are like Chirac who is a wine snob. Ok, very clever. However I am not entirely sure what he is suggesting the Korean consumer should be doing. He laments their following of trends, be it wellbeing or the latest Manga. He bemoans the CEO's purchasing of only the most expensive wines. He suggests that we would all be far better off like the French where wine is part of the culture. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Korea is a new wine market and it shows all the signs of this. The fact that the wine market is surging at all is remarkable. There is very little advertising of wines and so crazes like "The Drop of God" and the well-being movement are excellent in that they are increasing awareness of and interest in wine. CEO's will always buy the most expensive wines just as they always buy the most expensive cars. The same happens in France I am sure. In order for wine to really take off here we need the distribution of a wide variety of wines and we need this to be done at reasonable prices. We need everyday wines at prices that your average customer won't baulk at paying and we need a large popular brand to make a big push here. Wine will never be part of the culture here just as it isn't part of the culture of the UK. What we can look forward to is a country that has a wide distribution of world wines and from that basis we can build an interest in the nuances of wine drinking.
A French sommelier advised, "If you want to taste wine better, walk in a forest or a park and smell as many flowers and plants as possible." I can't think of a better way of scaring off potential wine drinkers.

The second article, here, looks at the Korean Food and Drug administrations decision to state that the safe limit of red wine to drink is half a glass a day. Anything above this, they say, could lead to a cancer danger due to the levels of ethyl carbamate. I'll be honest, I hadn't heard about ethyl carbamate until I read this so it was of some interest to me. It certainly sounds like it is an issue and the fact that it occurs in fermented products, such as soy, at higher levels makes it all the more worrying for those of us in Korea. I am pretty sure that this would make safe levels of Soju consumption a cap full but I think we all knew that anyway. The interesting point, I thought, was that ethyl carbamate occurs in higher levels in products fermented at higher temperatures, thus in distilled products we get the most ethyl carbamate and more in red wine than white(which is largely distilled at cool temperatures to keep purity of fruit). Whilst it would be a shame to see red wine sales drop because of this, especially given red wines many healthy properties it would be welcome to see a Korean wellbeing white wine extravaganza!

1 comment:

SkinnySteve said...

I thought your readers would be interested to know that over at SeoulSteves, we've started a wine of the month club along with Kabinett wine bar and Pieroth. You can order specially discounted mixed cases (and, this month, a half case) delivered to your home with no ongoing obligation.