We are on the verge of Fall and the harvest season in Nagano. Jim is looking forward to joining in the picking and sorting of the grapes at the nearby San Cousair winery later this month. The weather was quite wet and cloudy during September and the vineyard manager, Makoto Tsuchiya, is a bit anxious if the rains continue through October. We are keeping our fingers crossed.
Summer has come to Nagano – and we are enjoying a succession of warm, sunny days ranging up to 30 degrees Celsius and dropping in the evening to the low 20’s – an ideal diurnal range for Syrah grapes. As we noted before, the climate in Nagano is friendly to the Syrah grape and growers here are increasingly featuring this wine in their portfolios. Another reason may be that the wine produced from the Syrah grape in Nagano agrees better with Japanese sensibilities. It is light, fruity and hints of Japan’s local pepper, “sansho”. The contrast with California, Spain and Australian Shiraz wines can be quite stark.
Recently, we have been featuring boutique winemakers in Nagano spurred on by our local wine shop, Yorozuya, which takes pride in finding new wine makers and showcasing their products. But for this month, we decided to circle back and look at what three winemakers we have visited and written about previously are doing. What we found is that the three winemakers that we “liked” in the past are now creating wine that we really “like.” It is as if a corner has been turned—and much more quickly than we had expected.
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.
March is an in between month in Nagano. It is still winter – the mornings are below zero degrees and the mountains are still white with snow. But Spring is just around the corner – and none more so than this year when a combination of light snowfall and temperatures rising into the teens have … Continue reading March 2020 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.
On March 26, 2019, the Friends of Nagano Wine hosted Mr. Manabu Yagasaki, CEO and winemaker of Alps winery. Mr. Yagasaki studied at Oregon State University with Professor Walter Clore, who is widely known as the "father of wine" in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Alps is one of the largest and most … Continue reading Alps Winery Seminar and Tasting
Our next tasting event features the wines of ALPS Winery located in Shiojiri, Nagano. ALPS Winery CEO Manabu Yagasaki will present a range of wines from the winery. Date: May 26, 2019 Time: 2:00pm to 4:00pm Location: Ginza NAGANO Participation is limited to 15 people on a first come first serve basis. We request payment … Continue reading Alps Winery Tasting–CLOSED