ALPS Musee du Vin Dynastie Shiojiri Chardonnay 2019
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. This gives ALPS a lot more control over how the vines are managed and when the grapes are harvested. Couple that with oak barreling and you have a real bargain. The golden color of the wine is not as deep as the Maestro brand, but the fruit flavor is pronounced and the finish lingering. This is a mature and satisfying expression of the Chardonnay grape.
Available directly from the winery online for 3000 yen plus tax.
Kido Winery Autumn Colors Rouge 2019
The release of this wine is greatly anticipated among lovers of Japanese reds since it is among the few Japanese blends of Merlot and Muscat Bailey A. Moreover, the 13.5% alcohol content gives this wine a punch that most Japanese reds at 12% do not quite achieve. The ratio of Merlot and Muscat Bailey A is not stipulated on the bottle, but the Merlot is clearly dominant with the Muscat Bailey giving some structure and a strong finish to this fruity and exuberant wine. This wine may be a model for a Japanese style Bordeaux-blend using a local grape—similar to how South Africa uses Pinotage with Bordeaux varieties in its Red Cape Blends.
Available from some retailers at 2500 yen; the winery holds a lottery each April for those who wish to purchase directly.