In late April I visited the wine country of Yamanashi Prefecture for the second time this year. I was hoping to see peach blossoms in bloom and so, headed to a park on a hillside with a panoramic view of Kofu Basin.
Unfortunately, it was raining and a little too late in the season to see peach blossoms but the view of Kofu Basin was spectacular! Fortunately, there were still enough cherry blossoms left to appreciate the season.
There is a hot springs bath located on the top of a hill within this park. If the weather is good, you can see Mt.Fuji from the open air pool. I was tempted to spend some time in this spa before visiting the wineries but decided to try it another time, when the weather is more favorable.
SADOYA Winery サドヤ
After enjoying a picnic lunch at the park with my friends we all headed to the first winery of the day, Sadoya Winery.
Established in 1909 Sadoya has been making wine since 1917 and will soon celebrate their 100th year anniversary. Their major brand is called Chateaux Brilliant. They make wines exclusively using only the grapes grown at their vineyard, mostly Vitis vinifera grapes which are native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, Morocco, Portugal and southern Germany. This varietal also grows well east to northern Iran and in parts of southwestern Asia.
Sadoya makes wines that complement Japanese food. I tasted their Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. For a wine with a such a rich garnet appearance it had an unusually powerful acidity. I would suggest paring this wine with soy sauce based foods, but personally I prefer a bit more fruitiness in a Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is their wine storage facility today. These are all very pricy new barrels. Which means that in few years, Chateaux Brilliant, aging in these barrels will become a fine wine. I can't wait!
Chateaux Sakaori シャトー酒折
The second winery we visited this day was Chateaux Sakaori. Their facility is located on a hill. They have big windows facing downhill in the tasting room and shopping area, so the experience was both eye pleasuring while being tongue pleasuring.
We first went to see their wine making facility in the basement and then came upstairs for the tasting.
This winery focuses on making wines using Japanese grapes, especially a varietal called Muscat Bailey A. I tried three wines that use the Muscat Bailey A varietal (From right to left: Cuvee Isegawa 2011 barrel aged, Cuvee Isegawa 2012 barrel aged, and their non-barrel aged 2014 Clairet. I also tried one of their Koshu wines (a 2011 Kisvin). The Muscat Bailey A varietal usually becomes a light and fresh type of wine but barrel aging adds a deepness and complexity to the taste. The two barrel aged Cuvee Isegawa vintages have a good balance.
Since we were the only guests at the tasting counter, our generous server offered us a few additional wines which are not usually available on the tasting menu. The wine in the photo to the right was Jewels of Kisvin, this year, a blend of 34 different grape varietals. This vintner changes the number of grape varietals they use to make this wine every year and 48 varietals were used last year. Very fruitful and easy on the mouth. One of the grapes they use is called Cecilia. I couldn't hold myself back from googling a grape having my name. Hahaha. Cecilia: Brazilian origin. Elliptical shape with a yellow green granule. Light and elegant in taste. Well, not bad.
だそうです。Jewel of Kisvinは２０００本ちょっとしか作られていない限定品。特別に試飲させていただきました。ありがとうございました。
Anyway Jewel of Kisvin is a small production brand of which they made only 2000 bottles this year. We were fortunate to be able to taste this limited production wine. Thank you!