KOOKSOONDANG vows to protect the precious traditional Korean wines and culture.

How to Enjoy Korean Wine

츮 ô ְ ִ TIP

Before drinking a traditional Korean wine, one must look at the wine, smell its fragrance, and finally taste it.

The Koreans have a variety of home-brewed wines. The common taste and fragrance of the traditional Korean wines in the midst of such diversity, and a better way of enjoying tastier wine, are as follows:

Look at the wine.

Get drunk with the wines various fine colors.
After filling 2/3 of the cup with wine, observe the turbidity (the degree of clarity) and color.

Turbidity differs from one wine to another, but a good wine is clear and not cloudy.
The basic color of traditional Korean wine is gold. The lighter the color of the wine is, the more natural its taste, and the stronger the color of the wine is, the stronger its taste. The colors of the wines vary depending on the color of the ingredients, such as red medicinal herbs and purple flower leaves.
The Korean ancestors found the wines colors very beautiful; they thus named the wines baekhaju (its color makes it seem like a white haze) and nokpaju (its color seems like ocean blue).


The sweetness of traditional Korean wines

The Western grape wine quickly ferments, and its taste easily passes from dry to sweet according to the amount of the remaining glucose. The alcohol percentage and sweetness of the traditional Korean wines depend on the number of distillation processes that are conducted. When the alcohol percentage goes beyond a certain point, because the speed of glucose formation exceeds the speed of alcohol dissolution, only sweetness is left.

TIP : Generally, stopping normal fermentation on purpose generates a component that causes headaches. When choosing yakju based on the degree of sweetness, therefore, check where the sweetness is coming from: whether from an artificial sweetener or from deotsulbeop.
What is deotsulbeop? As the yeast dissolves in alcohol, its sweetness decreases. Rice (or another ingredient) and nuruk are then added and are fermented again. The alcohol percentage will differ depending on the amount of rice (or other ingredients) and nuruk added.

The sour taste of traditional Korean wines

The sour taste of traditional Korean wines is due to the various organic acids that they contain, such as lactic acid, citric acid, malic acid, and succinic acid, based on the formation of microorganisms or lactic-acid bacteria, and on the progress of the fermentation, which is benign and refreshing as it is natural.

TIP : When the wine is too sour or smells like very old kimchi or vinegar, it could have been acidified and spoiled via contamination by microorganisms. Therefore, smell the wine before tasting it.

The bitter, acerbic, gusuhan mat, and hot taste of traditional Korean wines

You can taste the bitterness, acerbity, gusuhan mat, and hot taste of yakju.

The bitter taste is the result of the metabolism of the yeast and other ingredients, but it could be caused by the addition of medicinal herbs. A slightly bitter taste stimulates the appetite and refreshes the mouth after eating.

Acerbity is similar to the taste of persimmon or acorn. It goes well with side dishes made of meat.

Gusuhan mat is a unique characteristic of wines made from fermented grains. It is a natural taste that is created by dissolving the protein in grain husks into amino acid, which makes the taste of wine much smoother.

The hot taste is from alcohol, but as it combines with the sweet, sour, and various other tastes, it isnt very strong.

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