As a French wine lover (and connoisseur), I was eager to discover the world of Shochu, although completely different, but with a few common points.
The common point between wine and Shochu is that both can be enjoyed while eating. I had more the image of Shochu as an “apéritif” or “digestif” but it is a perfect drink to go along with your dinner. So before meal, after meal, or with meals, you have the choice. Is it a big difference compared to other spirits?
A higher alcohol degree than wine. Although it has quite a high degree of alcohol, it is a very delicate drink, with complex aroma and elegance. And contrary to wine, you can mix it with water, which makes it milder.
Once the bottle is opened, you can keep it for months and it still tastes perfect. And as far as the tasting is concerned, you cannot really compare the colour, but the aromas are very subtle. As for wine, it is nice to discover the Shochu first by its fragrance, its aroma. There are some fragrances you find in white wines or champagne. During the tasting (in the mouth), like wine, you have the different phases you can enjoy: the attack, the middle and the finish or even after taste.
IN GOOD SPIRITS SHOCHU & AWAMORI
Japan International Broadcasting Inc. (JIB) Oct. 30, 2012