Nagano region, Japan (3) a tasting at Tomi Wine Chapel


Nagano region, Japan (3) a tasting at Tomi Wine Chapel


In Tomi, there’s a wine bar and tasting room where you can sample many different Nagano Wines. It’s great to have a wine-focused place like this in town. We had lunch there and tried six Chardonnays and four reds. Here are my notes:

Wa Yawata Chardonnay 2017 Nagano, Japan
From Chikuma City. Warmer region, 378 m altitude. This is linear and fresh, but has some peachy richness sitting under the pear and pineapple fruit. This is lively with good concentration and a focus on the ripe fruit. No oak here. 88/100

Boono Farm Field Tenoubara Chardonnay 2017 Nagano, Japan
In the Nihon Alps, in Akashina. Fumiyasu Ikegami is a grower with 4 hectares of vines, and he makes this wine at a custom crush facility. Young vines, no oak. Lovely fruit here: this is simple but really well made with some pear and white peach notes, as well as good acidity. Textured and rounded, this is nicely balanced. 88/100

Manns Wines Solaris Shinshu Chardonnay 2017 Nagano, Japan
Unoaked style, fermented at low temperature in tank. This is bright and expressive with lemons, herbs and grapefruit, as well as some stony texture. Quite tight and mineral with some bitter herb notes on the finish. I like to focus to this wine, but if I’m going to be critical it is a bit bitter on the finish. 87/100

Cyclo Vineyards Pursuit Chardonnay 2017 Nagano, Japan
Heavy clay soils, 660 m. This is oxidative on the nose with some roast coffee and marmite notes. There’s good acidity on the palate with notes of apple and lemon, and some herbs. The palate is better than the nose, and finishes bright and a bit pithy. 85/100

Beppin Saaya Présentir Kurakake Tomi Chardonnay 2017 Nagano, Japan
Fresh and expressive with nice green apple and grapefruit notes. Clean, fruity and uncomplicated with subtle tropical notes alongside the fresher citrus fruit. Nice harmony to this wine. 89/100

Villa d’Est Vignerons Reserve Chardonnay 2017 Nagano, Japan
850 m altitude in Tomi. This is fresh and refined with lovely bright citrus fruit ably supported by a twist of oak. This is focused, youthful and linear, and should develop very nicely over the next few years. Linear and modern. 90/100

Nagomi Vineyards Pinot Noir 2017 Nagano, Japan
Nagomi Vineyards established a new winery in 2018 in Tomi, but this wine was custom crushed at Arc-en-Vigne. It’s delicate, leafy and sappy with subtle red cherry fruit and some fine herbal hints. Light, balanced and quite elegant, this is a deliciously drinkable Pinot Noir with some varietal character and well integrated green notes. 90/100

Villa d’Est Pinot Noir 2016 Nagano, Japan
Pale cherry red in colour with some evolution. This is textured, rounded and supple with some savoury hints alongside the red cherry and plum fruit. Nicely grainy with good balance, and a bit of grippy structure lurking under the fruit. Drink now, and this will deliver pleasure. In a good place. 90/100

Hasumi Farm Merlot 2017 Chikuma River Valley, Nagano, Japan
Wild yeast ferment, matured in oak. Juicy and bright with vivid raspberry and cherry fruit, with good acidity. Nice structure here, with a savoury stoniness under the fruit. A bright, expressive wine showing real poise, and a twist of damson on the finish. Has the potential for development over the next few years. 89/100

Arc-En-Vigne Merlot Village 2017 Nagano, Japan
Some red apple and cherry on the nose, leading to a fresh palate with some savoury, spicy, slightly earthy notes. It’s a little angular but there’s nice freshness, too. Has some grip. 85/100

Find these wines with

Nagano Wine Region (2019)

Nagano Wine Region (2018)


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