Wine Australia has hosted its first Inspired Tasting in Tokyo with more than 100 quality wines on show.
Wine Australia has 37 Japanese-based wine specialists who provide education and training to the Japanese wine market.
The experts personally chose wines for the Inspired Tasting show they find the most interesting or that hold special memories.
More than 100 media and trade guests had the opportunity to taste 107 wines at the Inspired Tasting.
Wine merchant and A+ Trade Specialist, Makoto Inamasu, recommended Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay, saying it was the first Australian Chardonnay that struck a chord with him.
A+ Specialist Educator Minoru Numata picked Bindi Block Five Pinot Noir as a muscular yet delicate ‘high-density’ Pinot Noir, while Fumiko Aoki, A+ Honorary Specialist and wine journalist, listed Seppeltsfield 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny as the most memorable Australian wine she’s tasted.
Wine Australia Regional Manager Hiro Tejima said: “We had an overwhelming response from guests reflecting the great interest in Australian fine wine. I’m confident that the Inspired Tasting has been another ‘best foot forward’ exercise that will help us capitalise on the growth of the Japanese economy and the opportunities available via the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA).’
Tadayuki Yanagi, a local wine writer who attended the tasting, was surprised at the dramatic evolution of Australian wine.
“Australian wine now shows restraint and balance in extraction, alcohol, oak … everything. Whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Semillon showed pure acidity, minerality and tightness – great with delicate Japanese cuisine. The whole-bunch-pressed Pinot Noir and elegant Shiraz impressed me and it was great to see classic styles remaining in the diverse offering of Australian wine.’
Another guest, Makiko Morita, writer for The Daily Wines and Spirits commented: “I was certainly inspired by the fantastic line-up of gems recommended by the A+ Specialists with handwritten notes.
Mountain of treasure
“Australian wine is a ‘cool beauty’, which exhibits elegance and intelligence, softness and determination. They are how wine should be in the future; wines that I wish every person could experience. Australia is a mountain of treasure. Don’t miss the gold rush.”
The Inspired Tasting event follows the recent release of export figures that show an increase in the value of Australian wine exports to Japan (up 7.8 per cent to $42.7 million) in the 12 months to March 2015.
Wine exporters have also benefited from reductions in tariffs on bottled and bulk wine as part of JAEPA, which will see all tariffs on Australian wine eliminated over seven years.
Wine Australia Inspired Tastings have been held in the UK with great success over the last two years and will return again later this year.