A chill has descended on the Peninsula heralding the cold winds of winter, and the Olympic Torch is making its last stops in the South Gyeongsan Province.
At The Sool Company we tend to open our fridge doors to just about any alcohol made domestically, whether it be makgeolli, cheongju, soju and even Korean home-grown beers. We are also keenly interested in the development of local fruit wines and how they can find a place in Korea’s ever-growing alcohol industry.
So when we found out the torch was making its way through a town called Sacheon, we took the opportunity to learn about a fruit wine that is quite well-known in the area. Oreum-juga is a winery that makes a variety of unique Kiwi fruit wines using a varietal of Korean kiwi called ‘Darae’. Having never even heard of a kiwi wine before, we put our research hats on and got down to business learning a bit more about this interesting sool!
Oreum-juga 7004D(오름의주가 7004D)
Straight away our curiosity was piqued at the name ‘7004D’, as it sounded more like a camera model than a wine name. However as there is with all kinds of Korean brews, the name does have a deeper meaning. Sacheon is a city that has also been merged with another city called Samcheon-po. Sacheon can be translated as 4,000 (사천) and Samcheon-po can be translated as 3,000 with the ‘po’ being a loan English word for 4. So if you’re still following and we math that all together, 3,000 plus 4,004 becomes…7004! The D stands for ‘Dry’, as there are other sweeter wines in their repertoire.
We have come across persimmon wines, omija wines, and of course Korean wild grape wines with some regularity. But a kiwi fruit wine is something quite unusual, and we wondered how it came to be. It turns out that in the 1980’s the price of grapes in the Sacheon area was quite high, Oreum-juga turned to kiwis due to the ideal climate and precipitation conditions for their cultivation. The Korean grown kiwis are somewhat smaller than the ever familiar New Zealand varietal and are grown in a direction where they get plenty of sea-breeze.
But how does it taste? Well this one we haven’t personally had the opportunity to taste, so we elicited the help of Korean Wine sommelier Choi Jeongwook. A big fan of Oreum-juga 7004D, he described it to have a heavy body with a somewhat strong and tart first sip followed by a lightly bitter finish. He recommends pairing it with cream pasta or dishes that incorporate Korean greens for their aromatic balance.
So where can you get your hands on this wine to try for yourself? Korean wines are not very readily available in brick and mortar stores, so it is a case of ordering directly from the winery or online resellers. We never turn down an opportunity to try something new, so we will get our hands on a bottle to have a tasting video in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the Olympic Torch will move on and we will catch up with it on Monday when it makes its first foray into South Jeolla Province!
Check our other Pyeongchang Olympics Sool Route stops:
Julia is an Australian specialist in Korean Traditional Alcohol and has been involved in the makgeolli industry for over 6 years. She has been an activist for the promotion of Korean sool both locally and internationally after training at a number of institutes including Grand Master Park Rok Dam.