Chinese Yellow Wine (Huangjiu) - One of the Oldest Wines in the World
Huangjiu, known as Chinese Yellow Wine, with over 2,500 years’ history, is one of the oldest wines in the world together with beer and liquor. It originated in China and is only available in China. It is fermented from cereal grains such as rice, glutinous millet or millet and contains various nutriments like proteins, amino acids, polyphenols and glutathione which can scavenge free radicals and prevent cardiovascular diseases, promote blood circulation and protect heart, etc. Huangjiu is not distilled, so the alcohol content is not high, generally 14% - 20%, which tastes soft and a little sour, sweet, pungent, umami, astringent and bitter. It is now widely produced and has many categories, and the most famous one is Shaoxing Wine.
Why is it called Yellow Wine?
Most Chinese Yellow Wine is yellow or brown, which is the reason why it is called Yellow Wine. In the traditional process of brewing, the color of raw materials become deeper because of the high temperature, who colorize the wine during the later fermentation process.
But not all Yellow Wine is yellow or brown since the brewing process is different. The color of the wine can be adjusted by controlling the temperature and time during the boiling process. For example, Xi’an thick wine (choujiu), also a kind of Yellow Wine, is milky white.
Types of Chinese Yellow Wine
After thousands of years’ development, there are many types of Huangjiu.
By the production place: It can be categorized as Daizhou, Shaoxing, Jinhua, Danyang, Shandong Lanling Yellow Wine and so on.
By making materials: It also can be classified by the making materials, such as glutinous rice Yellow Wine, black rice wine, corn wine, barley wine, etc.
By sugar content: It can be categorized as Dry, Half-dry, Half-sweet and Sweet Yellow Wine, one sweeter than the previous.
By distiller’s yeast: It can also be categorized as wheat yeast and rice yeast Yellow Wine.
1. Yellow Wine contains 21 kinds of amino acids including 8 essential amino acids that human body cannot synthesize itself and several unknown amino acids.
2. The protein content in Huangjiu is the highest among all wines. It is mostly in the form of peptides and amino acids which can be easily absorbed by the body.
3. Huangjiu also contains physiologically active ingredients such as polyphenols and glutathione which can scavenge free radicals and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
4. Other nutrients include dextrin, altose, glucose, lipids, glycerin, vitamins and organic acids, etc.
Because Chinese Huangjiu is rich in nutrients, it is reputed as “liquid cake”.
Relax the muscles and stimulate the blood circulation: drinking Chinese Huangjiu can help promote blood circulation and metabolism, and prevent from getting cold.
Anti-aging: Huangjiu is rich in nicotinic acid, vitamin E and vitamins B1 and B2, which can help anti-aging. Long-term drinking can give you a shiny skin.
Work up an appetite: It has the effect of promoting appetite for that it contains a lot of zinc which helps metabolism and protein synthesis.
Protect heart: Huangjiu contains many trace elements like magnesium and selenium. These trace elements have the effect of preventing high blood pressure and thrombosis. Therefore, drinking moderate amount of Huangjiu help protect the heart.
2 Ways to Drink Huangjiu
1. Warm Yellow Wine
2. Chill Yellow Wine
Chill Huangjiu is popular especially in the young people. You can store it in the refrigerator before drinking. If it is a temperature-controlled refrigerator, the temperature should be controlled at around 3 °C. It tastes better when put a few pieces of ice in the cup or you can also add in plum, lemon according to your taste, or mix with Sprite, Coke, and juice which can lower the alcohol level.
What’s more, different dishes should be served with different Chinese Huangjiu. Take Shaoxing wine as an example: dry Huangjiu should be served with cold dishes such as vegetables and jellyfish; half-dry with meat and hairy crabs; half-sweet with chicken and duck; sweet preferably with beets. It should be noticed that one cannot drink too much at a time.
How to Store Chinese Yellow Wine
The storage location of Huangjiu is best in a cool, dry place like a well-ventilated warehouse where the temperature is 4 °C - 15 °C. In this way, it can promote the aging of the Huangjiu and reduce the loss of the alcohol. It should not be stored together with other drinks and wines or stored in metal containers. Besides, it cannot be shaken frequently and exposed to strong light.
How is Chinese Yellow Wine made?
The whole process goes as follow: The whole process goes as follow: soak the materials in water - steam or brew - air - mix with yeast - put the mixture into big jar - ferment - squeeze and extract - brew - cool and store