It was great to witness the ever-growing interest in wine in Taiwan at the recent Taipei Wine & Spirit Festival, held at the extremely convenient (for anyone heading to Taipei vis the High Speed Rail) Nangang Exhibition Center. What particularly stood out to me was the marked increase in the level of technical and global wine market knowledge, particularly among the younger generation of wine professionals. There were WSET qualifications left, right and center and with that has come an accompanying public who are interested in wine as part of their lifestyle, rather than merely an alcoholic drink or status symbol.
This last point gives me hope that the mid-priced wines which make up a huge proportion of sales outside Asia may start to pick up as people start to explore more flavours, regions, producers and price points. The irony of being a wine professional is that while we all enjoy the opportunity to drink the world's premium wines when we can, the mid-priced wines are what most of us actually drink on a regular basis. If they are good enough to keep wine professionals happy, then they are hopefully worth exploring as a wine drinker!
I tried a few interesting wines, some old favourites such as the excellent Mas de Daumas Gassac wines - thanks to Yohan for an excellent introduction to some of their wines I hadn't tasted before - as well as some excellent wines from Germany, Italy and another favourite Catena Zapata from Argentina. Other highlights included some great Spanish wines -the range is constantly improving in Taiwan - from DO Vinos and Naforst. It was also great to see a young winemaker with some great wines from Australia venturing into a new market - try some Raidis Estate wines if you see them. Alongside these there were a few wines which didn't excite me, either through being overpriced, too old or poorly made by international standards. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Taipei wine scene again and hope it continues to grow.