In Japan, fruit wines have always been popular. Any wine store or wine section of a Japanese supermarket will have a relatively large fruit wine section.
Now the rage in Japan is sparkling fruit wines. I will let the following article speak for itself:
Source: July 9th, 2007 Yomiuri Shinbun Newspaper article translated to English.
How would you like a refreshing sweet drink on a hot muggy night? Right now fruit flavoured beverages such as mango, strawberry, etc. are very popular.
Champagne is famous for sparkling (bubbly) wines. In the past, the sparkling wine image was that it was drunk on special occasions such as weddings or Christmas dinner. Recently however, the wine has become very fashionable among young woman as an affordable luxury item whose crisp summer time taste, refreshing bubbles, and golden colour make people feel very elegant. Champagne ‘gardens’, (similar to beer gardens) have opened; female oriented fashion magazines have highlighted the “morning champagne” as a beverage that seems to be well adapted to daily life styles. Champagnes made in the traditional method and originating from the Champagne area of Northern France are more expensive. On the other hand, sparkling wines, excluding champagne, are much more affordable with a taste that is similar to champagne. As a result, the popularity of sparkling wine has grown: sales for the product at Ginza’s Printemps wine store has increased 140% over last year’s results.
Of the many sparkling wines on the Japanese market, the most popular have fruit juice/fresh fruit blended with traditional fermented fruit sparkling wine. The price around ¥1,000 (CDN $11.00) is affordable, and young ladies on their way home after work are leading purchasers. They like to experience the easy taste and give themselves a little elegant feeling at home. The number of repeat buyers is growing, with some purchasing several different wines to compare the taste, or buying a particular brand they like by the case. According to Printemps Ginza’s wine staff, the secret of sparkling wines’ popularity seems to be a combination of refreshing bubbles, colorful appearance, and the crisp sweetness favored by females.
Printemps wine store started carrying sparkling wines last summer. Dr. Demeth Mango sparkling wine has an exquisite balance of mango richness with crispness added from the bubbles. The drink quickly became popular due to its easy drinking sweetness and the notoriety of mango flavoured products in general due to widespread media coverage. Currently, there are about 10 different sparkling fruit wines sold in wine stores. Some recommendations are Canella Bellini (peach), which retains the fruit pulp giving it an enjoyable texture, Rossini (strawberry), Mimosa (orange) and Val De Rance organic sparkling wine which uses organic apples and displays a rare yellow green color.
Almost all fruit sparkling wines, excluding some sparkling apple ciders, are sweet and can be enjoyed as an aperitif, but also with desserts. Sparkling wines should be kept in the refrigerator to maintain quality. Prior to drinking the wine it is recommended that they be refrigerated for about 3 hours. Maybe you can spend a comfortable and even romantic evening with these fruit sparkling wines. They are petite elegance and affordable.