Huangjiu of Chinese Liquor
As a national specialty, Huangjiu of Chinese Liquor is peculiar to China. Huangjiu of Chinese Liquor, Yellow Wine for short, is one of the three brewage liquors in the world. Yellow wine is grain wine made of rice and millet. Unlike to Baijiu of Chinese Liquor, Huangjiu does not have the process of distillation, and it has a low alcoholicity below 20%. Shaoxing yellow wine in Zhejiang Province has the longest history, which is the most typical of Chinese yellow wines. Jimo Yellow Wine in Shandong Province is typical of millet wine in the north of China, and Longyangchengang Liquor and Laojiu Yellow Wine are representatives of rice wine.
Yellow wine is made of rice and husked millet, and it is the brewage liquor with low alcohol content. Generally, the alcoholicity is between 14% and 20%. Yellow wine is nutritious, and it includes 21 varieties of varamino acid, so it is reputed as “Liquid Cake”.
So-called Yellow Wine
Yellow Wine is so called, but its color is not always yellow. Sometimes, its colors appear cream colored, yellow brown or brick red. Actually, Huangjiu of Chinese Liquor should be called as “rice wine” appropriately. Now yellow wine is the general name for all wine made of grains (excluding distilled alcohol). However, some wines are grain made, but they have their traditional names, such as Water Wine in Jiangxi Province, Dense Wine in Shaanxi Province and Highland barley Wine in Tibet.
Origins of Yellow Wine
Derived from Hengyang City of Hunan Province, yellow wine is one of the three most ancient liquors in the world. Chinese made yellow wine by means of original zymotechnics (Jiuqu) about 3,000 year ago. In history, the raw material of yellow is millet in the north and rice in the south. Since Song Dynasty (960-1279), Chinese created distilment, and Baijiu of Chinese Liquor (also called white liquor) became main alcoholic beverage in China. The yellow wine in the north was not so popular than that in the south. Now the main production places to make yellow wine are Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Anhui Provinces in the south of China. Shandong and Shaanxi produce less.
Famous Yellow Wines
Yellow wine has wide varieties, and the famous ones are Huadiao Wine, Zhuangyuanhong Wine and Nverhong Wine in Shaoxing City of Zhejiang Province, Qingcaohu wine in Xuancheng City and Gunanfeng wine in Langxi County, Haisheng Wine in Lujiang County of Anhui Province, Laojiu Wine in Shanghai and Fujian, Fenggang Wine in Jiangxi Province, Jimo Yellow Wine in Shandong Province and so on.
Yellow wine is divided into four types according to raw material and fermentation starter.
Glutinous Rice Yellow Wine is made Chinese yeast as main fermentation starter, which is mainly manufactured in the south of China.
Saccharification fermentation starter of Husked Millet Yellow Wine is aspergillus oryzae, which is almost in the north of China.
Rice Yellow Wine is a kind of improved yellow wine, and its saccharification fermentation starter is aspergillus oryzae with yeast, which is mainly produced in Jilin and Shandong provinces.
Hongqu Yellow Wine makes glutinous rice as raw material and monascus as saccharification fermentation starter, which is produced in Fujian and Jejiang provinces.
Yellow wine is the most typical of Wu and Yue (two kingdoms of Spring and Autumn and Warring States, 770-221 B.C.) cultures, which has a history of 2,000 years. Wu culture is characterized by Huiquan yellow wine, and Yue culture is represented by Shaoxing yellow wine. Yellow wine has a wild mouthfeel, and its culture is full of primitive simplicity. Its characteristic is familiar with Confucianism.
Yellow Wine in Daily Life
With its low alcoholicity, yellow wine is good to health. The traditional way to drink yellow wine is warming drink. In terms of medicine, it is an important “guiding medicine”, and many Chinese herbal medicines need yellow wine braising, boiling and soaking to make medicine wine. In daily life, yellow wine is one of important seasonings while cooking meat.
Related Reading: Baijiu of Chinese Liquor, Chinese Alcohol