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Black Queen Grapes

by | Aug 12, 2016

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Black queen grape is a dark black skin variant having a deep colour and one of the exclusive grapes of Japan which is used in the process of makeing excellent quality light wines, having an almost light body,
for red wine making in the state of Japan.

Wine with Black Queen grapes

Black Queen grape variety was bred by Mr. Kawakami Zenbei who is also known as the grandfather of wines in Japan, and one of the prominent faces in the Japan winemaking industry, in the year 1920.

Wine grape varieties

Origin and Parentage of Black Queen Grape

Black Queen was created by Mr. Kawakami Zenbei by crossing two variants of grapes – the bailey and the Golden Queen.

Now, apparently both the parents happen to be hybrids themselves. Golden queen is created by crossing the black Alicante and the Ferdinand de Lesseps variants of grapes.

It should be noted that Black Alicante is the grape which is native to Spain, and not the one cultivated in Australia, which bears the same name, but actual name being Trincadeira.

Ferdinand de Lesseps grape further happens to be a cross of Chasselas and Isabella grape variants.

Bailey Grape is a cross between extra and triumph grape variants, where extra is a big berry and a triumph hybrid.

Hence because of this, Black queen is a VitisVinifera, Vitislincecumii and Vitislabrusca hybrid.

In Thailand, Black queen grape was further explored to create Pokdum, which happens to be its mutation created by NongPuk in the NakhonRatchasima province of Thailand.

Black Queen grapes card

History of Black Queen Grape

Mr. Kawakami Zenbei (1868 – 1944) founded the Iwanohara winery in the Niigata Perfecture of Japan in the year 1890.

Eversince the foundation of the winery, Zenbei struggled with finding the right grape for his winery which would be well suited to the Japanese climate.

This winery located in Takada which lay on the west coast of Japan experienced heavy snowfall every winter.

In order to identify a grape variety which would not only be good at taste but would also be able to withstand the freezing climate of the west coast, he began experimenting by cross breeding different grape varieties.

After years and years of research and experimentation, he finally was able to create this black grape variety which was a fairly disease resistant and which would bud quite late during the season so as to avoid the frosts in the spring along with ripening relatively early, post season, to escape the autumn.

This grape offers a lot of resistance to the fungal infections thanks to its thick skins, despite the size of the berry being big.

Viticulture of Black Queen Grapes

Black queen grapes have a vigorous, late ripening and late budding characteristics.

These grapes tend to grow in clusters which are large, having medium sized berries.

Despite the high resistance to the fungal infections and a host of diseases, these grapes are susceptible to botrytis bunch rot during the ripening season.

Regions where Black Queen Grape is grown

The Black Queen grape variant is quite dominant in Japan, but not the most popular grapes around.

In Japan out of the total vine plantation areas under cultivation of different varietals of grapes, it occupies a portion of land equivalent to 469 hectares or 1159 acres.

However, the story is different is Taiwan, where this grape is the most dominant varietal.

This grape is widely used in the winemaking processes of Taiwan, Vietnam and Cambodia.

As Pokdum, Black Queen grapes occupy almost 10 percent of the Thailand’s vineyards and it is grown in huge numbers.

Black Queen Wine characteristics and Flavours

The wine made from black queen grapes gives a distinct taste of fresh strawberries and dark plums.

It also gives a slight touch of stalkish notes with the undertone of a candy, which quickly dissipates as if it wants to shed off its immaturity.

A photo posted by Jardineria On (@jardineriaon) on

On the nose this wine feels like black fruit, vanilla, cocoa with a fruity aroma.

On the palate, it feels of chocolate, strawberry, blackberries and plum. When it comes to the tannicity, it has low tannin content, but a gentle dose of acidity.

The alcohol level in this wine is medium and it tends to give a fruity finish to the otherwise light bodied texture.

When it comes to tint, the colour of this wine is light and needs to be aged in French or American Oak barrels for a period of six months to one year, to get that firmness.

The Black Queen – as music

The Black Queen – The End Where We Start

Food pairings with Black Queen Wine

This wine goes really well with Thai, Malaysian, Japanese and Lebanese cuisine. When it comes to vegetables, it tastes good with steamed or grilled veggies.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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