It’s hot, really hot. Seoul is hitting 32 degrees daily and we have the driest summer on record for the last 103 years. The cure? Nothing beats the heat and refreshes the body like a good wine. Here are some of my favorites this summer.
2010 Ronco dei Tassi Collio Bianco Fosarin (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia DOC, Italy)
Seductive bouquet of grapefruit, citrus layers, richness and textural fruit. The palate is full or moorish rich fruit held together by a solid spine of acidity. A rich style of wine with excellent balance and good integration of the compontent varietals: 45% pinot bianco, 35% friulano, 20% malvasia. Long moorish finish. Gambero Rosso gives this wine three glasses. (Importer: VinoVino) Retail: 55,000 at VinoVino’s shop.
2004 Vinoptima Gwertztrammier Ormond Reserve (Gisborne, New Zealand)
Aromatic with guava, passionfruit, lychees, ripe citrus and honey notes. Rich mandarin skin texture. Lush with upfront sweetness, tropical fruit that leads to a dry spicy finish. A unique wine with great personality and expressiveness. (Importer: TiwiTrade) Retail 80,000won independent wine shops including Jell Wine.
2010 Edi Keber Collio Bianco (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Italy)
An architectual bouquet with citrus, limes and white pepper. There is superb balance through the palate with crisp fruit, subtle tangerines and passionfruit. A solid spine of acidity leads to a long finish with lift and enjoyable spice. A blend of 70% Friulano, 15% Malvasia Istriana, 15% Ribolla Gialla. (Importer: VinoVino) Retail: 71,000won at Vinovino’s shop
2010 Bruno Gaicosa Roero Arneis (Roero DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy)
Good depth and structure with white clay, slate and perfumed bouquet of lime, peach, acacia flowers. Elegant with a soft fruit core, good intensity and clarity on the finish. Wonderful with grilled fish or barbequed shellfish. (Importer: NaraCellar) Retail 60,000won at major department stores.
2010 Zanthos Muscat Ottenal (Burgenland, Austria)
Ginger, lemon grass and passionfruit on the bouquet. Good acidity and balanced fruit and spice thought the palate. This is a dry style of muscat with good acidity enabling it to work with a range of spicy Korean dishes or as an apertif. Very refeshing and good value for money. (Importer: Sumir) 45,000 at independent wine shops or from the importer.
2010 Dario Raccaro Collio Friulano, Vigne dell Rolat (Fruli-Venezia-Giulia, Italy)
This wine has a big bouquet with plenty going on. Minerality, white slate, orange blossoms and mandarin notes are expressed. The palate is textural with mandarin skin, rounded full-bodied fruit and a good acid backbone. There’s great freshness and good perry notes on the finish. (Importer: VinoVino) Retail: 105,000 at VinoVino’s shop
2008 Valorbieu La Cuvee Mythique White (Languedoc, France)
An intelligent blend of Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, and Grenache blanc. Instense aromatics with peaches, citrus fruit, blossoms and subtle honeycomb. Bright and lively throughout, there is elegance and a sustained finish. A full bodied white with lots of viscosity and richness. Good value. (Importer: LPlus Korea) 35,000 in Shinsaegae department stores.
2010 Jackson Estate Shelter Belt Chardonnay (Marlborough, New Zealand)
Plenty of richness here with grapefruit, limes and figs and lees. While there’s plenty of new world action here the richness is balanced and integrated. The finish is long with bright acidity and good fruit intensity. (Importer: DongwonF&B) Retail 55,000 at independent wine shops. Pair with ki-joe-gae (pen scallops) and grilled shellfish.
2011 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre ‘Les Baronnes’ (Loire, France)
Asparagus and white pepper along with subtle white citrus and capsicum notes on the bouquet. Excellent freshness, minerality and balance. A classic sauvignon with a long finish. Pair with goat cheese, tofu kimchi or green shell mussels. (Importer: NaraCellars) 59,000 at major department stores.
2009 Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay (California, USA)
Layered citrus notes with pastry and macademia nuts on the bouquet. Honeysuckle, integrated vanilla oak and more macademia nuts through the palate. Oak is well integrated with acidity and fruit. Elegant with a focused finish with good length and lift. . (Importer: VinCSR) 195,000 won at major department stores. On sale at Enoteca wine shop (Akujeong) for 130,000.
Click here for a list of wine shops in Seoul.
By Joshua Hall