This years Seoul Wine and Spirits Expo was held on May 3-5th, was an improvement on last years event which failed to gather much interest from the trade. It was the 10th year for the event with plenty of consumer attendees on Friday and Saturday though the organisers have yet to release actual attendee figures.
There was a good representation of wines from France, some already in the market, some looking to get in the market. Their representation was certainly helped by Sopexa (the French government marketing body) having a established presence in the Seoul wine trade.
A number of new and small importers were also pouring wines already in the market. As these wines are availiable to purchase, I’ll talk about the ones that really stood out as quality wines.
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. Outstanding value. (Importer: LPlus Korea) 35,000 in Shinsaegae department stores
2008 Zenato Valpolicella DOC Superiore (Italy)
Dark wild blackberries, blackcurrant and dark cheery on the bouquet. Crisp acidity, good balance adn well integrated tannins. Coffee and subtle vanilla flavorsi and a slighlty bitter finish. An interesting wine. A blend of Corvina, Rondinella & Molinara. Have with lamb, vension or red meat pasta. (Importer: LPlus Korea) 110,000 in wine bars though it should start appearing in wine shops in the next few month for around 70,000 won.
Gentle warm fruit, plenty of texture and well balanced tannins. A blend of Merlot (37%), Syrah (36%), Cabernet Sauvignon (17%), Fer Servadou (10%) Gaillac is an historic wine-producing region of south-west France. It is regarded as one of the country’s oldest viticultural areas, apparently established in Roman times. (Importer: Tapex) Availiable in wine bars and restaurants for around 80,000 won. Hope to see it in wine shops soon.
2009 Domaine Anne Gros / Jean Paul Tollot LA 50/50 (Languedoc, France)
Quality cork, balance, fresh fruit and value for money. There is a burgundy like elegance to the wine along with minerality and some spice. A table wine that delivers loads of pleasure. A blend of Grenache, Cinsaut and Carignan. (Importer: Homo Vinocus) Availiable for 32,000 won at Les vin de mael wine shop, Pinot Noir wine shop and other independent wine retailers.
2008 Clos Bagatelle Veillee d’Automne Saint-Chinian (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)
Dried herbs, ripe plums, vanilla and pepper notes on the bouquet with solid red and black berryfruit. A solid fruit core with medium weight tannins that are well balanced. Good complexity here. This wine needs an hour to open up to show itself. A blend of Syrah 45 %, Mourvèdre 20 %, Carignan 25 %. Good value. (Importer: Mundovino) Around 55,000 in independent wine shops and on good wine bar lists.
By Joshua Hall