Not long ago I have attended a tasting where I have sampled some wines from Japan, China, Thailand, India and Brazil. It was something I have not come across before. An even newer New World.
These countries are not necessarily renowned about making wine in general, not to mention any good quality, decent product.
Although Brazil has a reputation of producing excellent sparklers using the traditional method, but India and Thailand environmentally and climate-wise not easily suited for grapevine production. Tropical, subtropical flat lands and 4 months monsoon are not ideal conditions for grape growing as the plants cannot go dormant. This way they can give you two crops per year but can and will exhaust vines quicker resulting in a much-much shorter life span. High humidity provides ideal breeding ground for fungal diseases and the presence of high precipitation and fertile lands will ensure very high vigour which makes cultivation labour intensive and can make the outcome, if not treated with utmost care, somewhat of a lesser quality. Luckily labour and resources are rather cheap in Thailand, India and China and with the demand for good quality local wine it becomes viable to provide even oak aged fine wines for a very competitive price. The result is surprisingly good. They might be searching for their ways, identity and image, but what a great effort!
As grape varieties go, they mainly using well-known, international types as Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Colombard, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenére. Although I have tasted a very interesting indigenous Japanese variety, Koshu as well. It was light-bodied, delicate with a certain purity. It reminded me of sherry.
Photographs by The Tannin Addict.