We would like to recommend some Nagano Chardonnays to start your summer off right. Both of the wines featured below are made in relatively small volumes, but you should be able to get your hands on either one through the producer’s online shop or a major online shopping site. Happy drinking.
Sun Sun Estate Kakizawa Chardonnay 2017
This wine is a fine. It breaks the mold for Nagano Chardonnay with its striking sweetness and fruit that continues straight through the finish. Color is golden straw and the alcohol is a pleasant 12.5 percent. The grapes are grown at 850 meters and the elevation appears to have brought out the best in them. Kudos to the winemaker, Hideo Togawa, who is among the most experienced and skilled winemakers in the prefecture. This is a wine to begin your dinner and carry you through to later in the evening. Available directly from the winemaker at ¥2200.
Cantina Riezo Belvedere Chardonnay 2017
Cantina Riezo was founded in 2015 by a young winemaker, Yasuyuki Yumoto, who studied in Italy and brought the grapes of Northern Italy to Nagano. Belvedere is a Chardonnay single varietal wine and Mr. Yumoto has made a fruity, flinty and and a bit in your face Italian style one. The wine also comes with a nice finish that you don’t always find in a Japanese-made Chardonnay. It is a good example of the kind of experimentation that Nagano makers are undertaking as they work to develop their own style of winemaking. We try to keep our recommendations below ¥3000 (somehow ¥3000 seems like a reasonable cut-off). But this one at ¥3240 is interesting enough for us to break that rule.