Nagano Region, Japan (16) a tasting of top Nagano wines


Nagano Region, Japan (16) a tasting of top Nagano wines

On the last day of my Nagano trip I was in Nagano city for an overview tasting. This invlolved some of the top Nagano wines. Most of the winemakers were present, and I was asked to taste the wines then share my opinions with everyone. This puts you on the spot a bit! Some nice bottles here.

Presentir Beppin Saaya Chardonnay 2017 Kurakake Tomi, Nagano, Japan
This is fresh and lively with some rounded appley notes as well as delicate lemon and pear fruit. Light in style with a stony edge to the bright fruit. Has some personality and character, as well as a bit of carbon dioxide enhancing the fresh impression. 88/100

Presentir Beppin Rio Pinot Noir 2017 Kurakake Tomi, Nagano, Japan
Light in colour with lovely fresh, delicate red cherry fruit with some slight herbal notes. Fresh with a twist of undergrowth. Subtle, fragrant, light and understated, this is really elegant and fine. 90/100

Kusonoki Winery Riesling 2017 Suzaka, Chikuma River, Nagano, Japan
Fresh and bright showing nice citrus fruit core with a nice lemony drive. Good acidity here. Light style but with nice mineral presence. Has a delicate mineral and lemon aftertaste. Lovely integrated flavours all work together. 90/100

Shinshu Takayama Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Takayama, Chikuma River, Nagano, Japan
Delicate grassy, elderflower nose is quite elegant. Light, textured palate with good acidity and some nettle, elderflower flavours. Subtle and understated, and very effective. 89/100

Terre de Ciel Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Komoro, Chikuma River, Nagano
Leafy, grassy nose. Lively palate with some green herbal hints, bright gooseberry notes and keen acidity. Very fruity with high acidity. 87/100

Northern Alps Vineyards Lab Pinot Gris 2016 Omachi, Japan Alps, Nagano
Lovely tangerine and table grape fruit with some smokiness and a hint of savouriness. Bright and dry with high acidity and lovely varietal character. Some baked apple on the finish. Very stylish. 90/100

Yamabe Winery Pinot Gris 2015 Matsumoto, Japan Alps, Nagano
Nice brightness here allied with some richness. Grapey and quite bold with some pear, grape and tangerine fruit. Has a bit of weight on the palate with nice detail. Dry and nicely balanced. 90/100

Hayashi Noen Estate Kazikawa Chardonnay 2017 Shiojiri, Kikyogahara, Nagano
Attractive citrus, pear and apple fruit core with nice focus on the fruit. Very balanced with some richness. Subtle bready, toasty notes and a hint of sweetness alongside the keen acidity, creating a rounded feel in the mouth. Stylish wine. 91/100

Château Mercian Yokoyama Farm Azumino Chardonnay 2016 Azumino, Japan Alps, Nagano
Not a powerful style, but rather it’s quite delicate, with some fine toasty notes complemented by lemon, mandarin and white peach fruit. Refined and well made with great balance. 91/100

Presentir Beppin Field Blend Rosé Haru 2018 Nagano, Japan
Rounded and smooth with lovely pure cherry and strawberry fruit. Nice smooth texture in the mouth with some pear fruit and a bit of grapey richness. Easy to drink. 88/100


Gio Hills Winery Nakadana Pinot Noir 2017 Komoro, Nagano, Japan
Brilliantly pure with sweet red cherry fruit and a lovely smooth texture. Silky, light and elegant with lovely fruit presence. Such poise here: subtle and refined with incredible elegance and lightness. 92/100

Kido Private Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 Sjiojiri, Kikyogahara, Nagano, Japan
Has a sappy, leafy, herbal edge to the cherry fruit nose, with a little lift. The palate is fresh and quite elegant with some juicy cherry fruit and some sweet bite from the acid. Stylish but with a bit of sourness on the finish. Would be better with less volatility. 88/100

Villa d’Est Winery Pinot Noir 2017 Tomi, Chikuma River, Nagano, Japan
Light and supple with lovely purity to the red cherry and plum fruit. Very fine-grained with some nice structure. Understated style, but with lovely fruit presence. Fine and elegant, and not trying too hard. I like it. 91/100

Funky Château Cabernet Franc 2016 Aoki, Chikuma River, Nagano, Japan
Lovely structure and texture here: this has ripeness, smoothness and freshness, with some attractive oak playing a supporting role. It’s harmonious and elegant showing red cherry and raspberry fruit, with some silkiness and a touch of vanilla spice on the finish. Harmony is the key. 93/100

St Cousair Rouge NV Iitsuna, Chikuma River, Nagano
Blend of 2014 and 2015, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. Fresh and lively with some juicy fruit. Nicely expressive with good acidity and raspberry and red cherry notes. Has a bit of grip, but overall it’s pretty elegant and refined. Nice weight. 90/100

Manns Wine Komoro Winery Solaris Higashiyama Merlot 2015 Ueda, Chikima River, Nagano
A very stylish, ripe but balanced expression of Merlot. Smooth and textured with fleshy cherry fruit and some nice grippy structure. Has freshness and balance, with a savoury undercurrent and some bite on the finish. 92/100

Suntory Shiojiri Winery Iwadahara Merlot 2015 Shiojiri, Kikyogahara, Nagano
Floral, aromatic nose of sweet cherries. The palate is supple, fresh and shows pure red fruits with nice texture and a bit of grainy tannin. But the emphasis here is on lovely pure fleshy fruit. Really expressive and pure. 92/100

Shinano Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Shiojiri, Kikyogahara, Nagano
Quite mature with some earth and herb notes, alongside midweight cherry and plum fruit. A little faded and developed with hints of coconut and herb. Mellow and smooth, but quite a faded, old fashioned style. 87/100

Find these wines with

Nagano Wine Region (2019)

Nagano Wine Region (2018)



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