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Prowein 2015: Roger Jones' day two from de Prowein Haus

Published:  17 March, 2015

Roger Jones takes us around the wine world on his Prowien 2015 journey of discovery, where he explores some new and interesting wines.

The joy of Prowein is the ability to gather so much new information on specialised topics, such as the best Japanese wines to go with sushi. Dusseldorf has the highest concentration of Japanese in any city in the world outside Japan, therefore the tasting and matching set up by Sakura (Japan's leading Wine Awards) was certainly going to be special. Attendees included the Japanese Consulate and the sushi provided was superb

We started off with a Sparkling wine, Yoshi, from the Takahata winery in the Yamanashi region, made from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, a bright lively little number that firstly gave hints of a sparkling Sake but once matched with fatty belly of tuna turned into a sublime clean beautiful sparkling wine perfectly complimenting the fish.

This was followed by 3 Koshu wines. Koshu wines are made from a pink skinned grape variety and give a bright fresh attractive flavour and account for 90% of wines in Japan. The highlight was a Koshu Terroir Selection 2012 from Kaneyama full of citrus and zesty lime, bright and clean with some depth and texture a great match to the diver caught scallop sashimi.

Chardonnay is not a grape you would associate with Japan, but the baroque aged sample from the Takahata inert, based North of Tokyo was gently oaked with a lingering long luscious flavour with lime and spice very well matched with the cuttlefish.

Two reds, which were not paired with the food, were certainly good wines, Izutsu Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 and a Merlot simply called Chateau Izutsu Special Wine (2012), maybe a bit more work on names would help, but both delivered classic grape variety styles. The Merlot was exceptional, but I gather the price may well also be exceptional.

The Sakura Wine Awards are judged by Japanese females only, to highlight the importance of wine to the female population of Japan who are the dominate wine buyers. Besides Japanese wines they also judge wines from around the world, often highlighting top female wine makers such as Vanya Cullen and Virginia Willcock from Vasse Felix both from Margaret River in Australia.

Next stop was the vast German Pavilions, hidden away in one corner is a stand called Young Generation Riesling, which hosted an array of  talented upcoming German winemakers, although the winemaker I met, Mathias Meimberg was showing everything but Riesling. His Boessneck wine label included a dreamy long lingering Sylvaner full of spring white flowers and an elegance that echoed quality and finesse, his Spatburgunder (Pinot) was one of the finest that I have tried from Germany, a beautiful lightly perfumed feminine style, with gentle hints of smokey bacon, calm integrated clean fruit and a lingering affectionate aftertaste.

Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

If there was one criticism of Prowein it would be the lack of toilets, and despite the added portable facilities lined up outside the conference halls, the queues were similar to the launch of Apple's new iPhone. However a little tip - pop upstairs to one of the many restaurants and the facilities there are less crowded.

Onwards to Greece, and this country is certainly delivering a new inspired range of grape varieties to the UK market, mainly highlighting the white varieties especially the lauded Asyrtiko grape, however it was the red grape that I needed to explore. There are a lot of chunky big slightly unbalanced reds but search and you will be gifted some truly fine wines with great delicacy and brightness. Three of the best that I found were Gerovassiliou, Gaia and Monemvasia, all represented at the show by their owners/winemakers.

Gerovassiliou I know well from stocking their sublime and inspired Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, the Reds were new to me and Thrass's (winemaker and owner) Syrah inspired reds are beautifully balanced, structured and very Rhone in style, look out for names such as Ktima, Avaton and Evangelo.

Gaia focus more on Greek grape varieties, and Leon's  Agiorgitiko red grape varieties highlight the quality of this indigenous grape variety. It's translation to English is St George.  The range of  wines deliver a lovely Rhone style with the Gaia Estate with a hint of new oak delivering a long lingering full flavoured juicy wine. Top of the class is Gaia S which has a new world twist with 35% SYRAH added giving it some spice and soft coconut nuances.

Best  red wine from  Monemvasia was simply called the '300' 2005, a blend of Agiorgitiko and Mavroudi, richly structured, blackberries, smokey, complex and with 10 years age delivering a lovely silky textured wine.

All three wineries have a very special dessert wine all completely different in style, and all hidden underneath the counter, so if you are visiting any of them today do ask for a small sample of their liquid assets.

Having started the day with Sushi it was a fitting end to finish with Sushi at a dinner hosted by Craggy Range from New Zealand, undoubtedly one of the finest wine focused global projects in recent times. Their single minded ambition to produce the finest single grape varieties in New Zealand under the lead of some of the worlds finest winemakers and viniculturists has been rewarded with a portfolio of sublime wines covering all price ranges.