Symington Family Estates, a name closely associated with such prestigious ports as Graham’s, Cockburn’s, and Dow’s, recently launched its School of Port, an online program designed to educate “wine professionals and wine lovers about port and the Douro,” the valley whence the wide array of grapes permitted in port production come. The first module covered was “The Essentials.” The highly informative and timely—the impact of climate change on port production was covered—two-hour session was conducted by Jorge Nunes, a teacher who is both knowledgeable and passionate about his beverage.
But what, you may ask, does this have to do with Japan? Port is from Portugal, right? Well, the Sphinx-like answer is “Everything and nothing.” Those of you walking on three legs may know what we are driving at here; those on two, probably not; and the four-legged crowd shouldn’t even be reading this blog, anyway.
The answer is Akadama (Red Ball) wine, Japan’s first commercially produced wine. For many years Akadama billed itself as a “port” wine, which simply no longer cuts the mustard these days, unless you happen to be one of those “Champagnes” from California. “Is that a Cucamonga cuvée, you’re drinking, sir?”
Akadama no longer bills itself as “port” wine: it now uses “fruit wine,” instead. The brand used to be ubiquitous in Japan, but that no longer seems to be the case. Prior to writing this entry, we went to two supermarkets that did not carry it. At one, a middle-aged, Japanese employee confessed that he had never heard of it. We were finally able to obtain a bottle at the third establishment we visited.
How should one consume Akadama? Our suggestion is to pour it over vanilla ice cream. It’s great that way.
We have written a book. For more information on Japanese beverages, please check it out. You can get it at fine offline and online booksellers in Japan, including Amazon.
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