Wine from Bhutan?
In the never ending search for new wines around the world I find myself in Bhutan, where I have come across two. Raven Shiraz and Takin red wine. It’s not certain where the grapes come from or where the wine is made although I suppose if it says Bhutanese wine on the label, it’s made in Bhutan. Unfortunately my itinerary doesn’t cover the area where the wine is made but they are available throughout the country, although how the distribution system works is something of a mystery. In a country where a paved road is as rare as a bottle of Screaming Eagle, the average speed along the highways is not more than 25km an hour. Nevertheless, whilst it would take far too long for me to get to the wine producing area, I have tasted (and drunk) both wines. The Raven Shiraz might be considered a little one-dimensional but with good varietal flavours, but the Takin is intriguing because whilst I have no idea of the grape varietal(s) used, it bears a remarkable resemblance to Recioto della Valpollicella or Amarone. I’m not even sure if it’s made by the same method of drying the grapes for 4 months or so before pressing. It is a little on the sweet side and whilst conventional wisdom might call for this wine to be pared with chocolatey desserts, I have always liked to drink a Recioto with Game in a dark summer fruit sauce – wild duck with a black cherry sauce comes to mind – and the Takin was an excellent accompaniment to the local cuisine in Bhutan of Pork, Chicken or beef in a slightly sweet and spicy dark sauce.