Harvest in Nagano is beginning to wind down and the summits of the 1500-2000 meters mountains that surround our home on the slopes of Mount Kurohime are already showing some snow. Typically, we can expect the first major snowfall by the end of this month and the close-by ski areas start operations in the first and second weeks of December.
September and October are not surprisingly the best time for wines in Nagano. Why – because it is harvest season. And normally we would be gearing up to visit some of our favorite wineries to help with the picking and the sorting of the grapes as well as joining the picnics in the vineyards and sampling some of the just released 2020 wines.
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.
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.