A First Taste of Koshu: Japanese Wine, by Clare Corlett

Last week I was lucky enough to attend a tasting of our new Japanese wines that have just arrived in store, the fabulous Koshu still and sparkling wines from Lumiere and Soryu wineries.

Do not fret if you haven’t heard of these wineries before, or even of Koshu at all, because at present there is only a very small amount being imported into the UK. The amount we are talking about here is probably the equivalent of about 3 pallets a year at the most of still Koshu – and absolutely no sparkling at all! So you can see why I was excited, both for myself and for Amathus, to have this opportunity to try them in our own store.

I met the delightful owners of the wineries and the Ambassador for Koshu of Japan, Master of Wine Lynne Sherriff, at our Soho store and after a few introductions we were all very eager to get the tasting under way…


Lumiere Petillant, 100% Koshu

Lumiere Petillant
Lumiere Petillant

Appearance: A beautiful, delicate, pale salmon colour with small persistent bubbles, indicating good pressure in the wine and sustaining fizz. This sparkling is made using the traditional “Champagne” method.

Aroma: On the nose is great citrus aromas; lemon and lime, and crisp red apple, with some stone red fruit notes of plums and cherry.

Palate: To taste, there was a lively fresh acidity to balance with all the aroma flavours coming through on the palate. The bubbles are refreshing and the slight tannins come through giving the wine a little more structure.

The wine has spend 12 months on the lees, providing a lovely, creamy quality and with 8g of residual sugar it is slightly off-dry, making this sparkling even more enjoyable and the perfect aperitif. Alternatively, it would also go very well with simply, salty starters as there is still a note of that savoury character that is found in the base still wine, Koshu.

This is currently the only sparkling Koshu that is imported into the UK and available in both our Amathus stores and our website.


Soryu Koshu 2010

Soryu Koshu
Soryu Koshu

Appearance: Clear, pale lemon wine with water white rims.

Aroma: A clean, lemon and lime aroma with hints of apple blossom and spice. There is also a mineral quality to the nose that gives this wine that extra depth and complexity. It is a light intensity aroma, which gives the wine a subtleness and delicacy.

Palate: There is a delicious savoury note the palate, reminiscent of perfumed almonds and cashew nuts, making it perfectly matched for an evening tipple with savoury snacks. On the finish, the peach notes really come across and leave you with a very favourable taste.

This is a classic style of Koshu and, with no time on the lees, shows a typical wine from this varietal grape.


Lumiere Koshu 2010

Appearance: Pale salmon colour with water white rims, showing the pinkness extracted from that of the grape.

Aroma: Citrus notes a prominent but also a great intensity of ripe red apple and mineral notes.

Palate: In comparison to the Soryu, it is slightly more intense and has more body, with a very slight tannin note coming through. The savoury almond and nut notes are still there, complimenting the basic green and red apple flavours and an underlying smokiness. The finish is long yet subtle, again making it a great wine to accompany savoury snacks/ foods or even just to enjoy by itself.

Slightly more fruity and bigger bodied than the Koshu from Soyru, this wine would be suitable with slightly heavier meals but I personally still think it very enjoyable by itself also.


Koshu: Lumiere and Soryu
Koshu: Lumiere and Soryu

These are unique, stylish wines, perfect for London and for anyone that enjoys an elegant glass of wine. The sparkling has even been mistaken for Champagne by some and is worthy of the mistaken identity. I would strongly advise anyone to try these wines, whether it be for a drinks meeting, a social occasion, or a midweek catch up with friends; these low alcohol, subtle and complex wines are a wonderful choice!


By Clare Corlett,
Online Marketing for Amathus Drinks
To buy some for yourself, please do see in store at either our City or Soho store, or alternatively check them out online at: www.amathusdrinks.com/wines/koshu.html