July 2019 Recommendations

July is one of those in between months in Japan: rainy at the start and then full-on summer by the close. We are bringing to you three wines that should help you through the transition.  Interestingly, two of them are made from Japanese local varietals and the third is a successful experiment in combining Chardonnay grapes from different vintages.


Hasumi Wine Shinshu Koshu 2017

If you are looking for Koshu wine, this Nagano (Shinshu) version beats the Yamanashi product by a mile! It has excellent color and flavor and more than a hint of fruit and decent acidity. The finish is bit short, but the wine is refreshing and the color robust and inviting. It is an excellent choice for that before dinner drink while sitting on the porch and watching the sunset.


Click here for the winery’s online store.


Alps Musee du Vin Zenkoji Ryugan

Ryugan is Nagano’s answer to Koshu.  Although the grape originated in China, it is now completely at home in the prefecture and bears the name of its most famous temple.  It is balanced between a sweet and fruity flavor and a smooth finish with just a touch of minerals and the right amount of acidity.  This wine regularly gets top ratings at our wine tastings. Serve it with grilled Shinshu salmon for a delightful pairing. 

JPY 1400

Click here for the winery’s online store.


St. Cousair Nagano Chardonnay 2017

St. Cousair is one of the most commercially successful wineries in Nagano – selling everything from pastas to wedding packages. But not incidentally it is making good wine in an imaginative way. The 2017 Chardonnay is actually a blend of the 2016 and 2017 harvests done under the direction of a young blender named Kyohei Nomura.  And it succeeds because the meritage of these two very different harvests uniquely matches flavors to make a better Chardonnay. There is fruit, acidity and just the right touch of oak.

JPY 3800

Click here for the winery’s online store.

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