Try Berry Wine For a Treat After DinnerThose who have not ventured beyond Korea's popular table wines may wish to broaden their horizons. Chosen as a representative Korean wine during the 3rd Asia-Europe Meeting last October, Korea's bok-bunja-sul, wild raspberry wine, is a treat for special occasions.
After the first whiff of the refreshing, fruity aroma of bokbunja-sul, one tastes its smooth and sweet flavor. At 19 percent alcohol, it has a rich, yet clean aftertaste and can be served like port as a dessert wine. It can be served straight or on the rocks and adds a fruity zest to vanilla ice cream.
Made from wild raspberries found deep in the mountains of the southern Korean provinces, this wine contains no artificial preservatives or chemicals. The raspberries are picked after ripening during the months of July and August, when their color turns from red to a dark shade of ruby, from which
the raspberry gets its name: rubus corneanus. The ripened berries are then allowed to ferment in an air-tight ceramic jar for two to three years.
The wine's name bokbunja-sul means overturned urinal, and is derived from a rollicking folk tale: An
old man who got lost in the woods came upon some raspberries, and before returning home ate his fill of the delicious fruit. The next morning when he went to the bathroom, the force of his flow was so strong that it flipped over the urinal pot. Literally translated from Chinese characters, bokmeans to
flip, buna container, ja a small fruit, and sulany type of wine or liquor.
As suggested in the story, the fruit of bokbunja-sul has long been treasured by Koreans as an energy booster. High in vitamin C, calcium and other minerals, it is believed to maintain healthy eyes as well as internal organs. Dried and fresh raspberries have also been extensively used in oriental med-icine for chronic ailments such as fatigue, dehydration and diabetes.
If you prefer the non-alcoholic, tea version of bokbunja, it's very easy to make yourself: wash fresh raspberries under running water and drain. Then store the berries in a jar and add enough
sugar or honey to cover the fruit. Tightly cap the jar and set it aside for about 10 days at room temperature. A table-spoon of this jam-like mixture can be added to a cup of hot water. Bokbunja in the form of dry fruit can be found in oriental medicine markets such as Gyeongdong market in Seoul, and costs about 8,000 won ($ 7) for 500 gram. To get to the market, take subway line number 1 line and get off at Jegi-dong Station.
by Ines Cho