We welcomed the New Year in Nagano with more than abundant snow. Quite a contrast to the previous year when the weather was generally warm and any precipitation usually took the form of rain. Needless to say, the pandemic has been a dark cloud on most everything – except our favorite pastime, which is to sit in front of our wood-burning stove holding a glass of wine with our young German Shepherd sleeping comfortably by our side.
It is snowing in the mountains of Nagano as we write this – and the ski season promises to be the best in a decade. There is already nearly half a meter of snow on the ground and another half meter is expected overnight. After a long day on the slopes, there is nothing better than sitting by a wood stove and trying out some new wines.
This month we are featuring wines from two boutique wineries: Funky Chateau (we still love that name!) and Coteau des Chevrettes (yes, there are goats that help out at the winery to keep the weeds away from the vines).
Fall has finally arrived in Nagano – and none too soon. This past summer may have been the worst in years for wines in the prefecture, with June and July overcast and very wet and August hot and humid – reducing the difference between daytime and night temperatures that are important for the right balance between sugar (day time) and acidity (night time). That said, the weather improved in September as we got closer to harvest hopefully keeping things on course for a good year.
For those of you who could not attend of August 10 event, we wanted to give you a brief overview of the wines we tasted and the discussion those wines begat...
This has been a rainy season that we all wish to forget. It has rained nearly every day since the latter part of June and continues as we write on July 16. And this is not just any ordinary rain – precipitation has been at record levels causing major flooding in the Matsumoto area and … Continue reading July 2020 Recommendations
ALPS markets a very nice Chardonnay for 2700 yen under its Musee du Vin Maestro brand. This wine has a nice gold color and a fruity, fresh taste. But for 300 yen more a bottle, you get an entirely different experience: The Dynastie Shiojiri brand exclusively uses grapes from fields that are managed directly by the company rather than from contract farmers.
Shigeyuki Kusunoki is the owner and winemaker at the Kusunoki Winery located in Suzuka City, Nagano – about two and half hours outside of Tokyo by Shinkansen and local train. Mr. Kusunoki opened his winery in 2011 after a career in the aircraft leasing business and is a graduate of the Oenology Department at the … Continue reading Q&A with Kusunoki Winery