A red wine developed by Taiwanese farmers won gold at the 25th Vinalies Internationales in France this week.
The Vino Formosa Rosso is produced by Hung Chi-pei (洪吉倍), who runs Shu-sheng Leisure Domaine in Taichung’s Waipu District (外埔).
The concours, which lasted from March 1 to Tuesday, saw 126 tasters from 35 countries review 3,340 wines.
Photo courtesy of National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Chen Chien-hao
Regarded as one of the strictest wine competitions, the contest follows the standards of the International Organization of Vine and Wine.
Seventy percent of entrants are eliminated before the reviewers start grading.
National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism assistant professor Chen Chien-hao (陳千浩), who accepted the award in Paris on Wednesday, yesterday said that it is not an easy competition and the result shows that Taiwanese grapes can be used to make world-class wines featuring local flavors.
He and Hung’s family spent 14 years improving the quality of a Japanese grape species named “Black Queen,” Chen said.
With more than 50 years of experience growing grapes, Hung has introduced cutting-edge winemaking equipment from Europe and the US with assistance from the Agriculture and Food Agency and the Taichung Agriculture Bureau.
The cooperation has contributed to increasing wins at international contests, he said.
Taking advantage of Taiwan’s hot and humid weather, they developed a heat aging technique using the Maillard reaction to produce wine, adding brandy and aging it in oak barrels for more than five years, he said.
The reaction generates an aroma through glucose amino acids, while nearly 10 percent of the liquid evaporates during the aging process, leaving about 100 liters of wine per barrel, he said.
Natural evaporation improves the quality of wine, allowing it to keep the fresh and sour flavors and giving a mellower taste, Chen said.
He and Hung plan to set up a new winery to produce products using local crops, such as rice, sweet potato and fruits, Chen said, adding that they hope to promote Taiwanese wine on the global stage.
Vino Formosa Rosso was among 430 wines that won a gold medal.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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