Its been a while since I last visited Yamanashi. This time, I made an appointment with the owner of Huggy Wine, Mr.Hagiwara to hear his story. The weather forcast predicted the day to be a rainy one but I can alway bring sun, so it was a partially sunny and cloudy day, not too hot, just perfect for strolling vineyard kind of weather. My friend and I decided to have a lunch at Mercian since they have a nice restaurant with a tasting room. Mercian recently won gold medals at Japan Wine Contest for Niizuru Chardonney 2016, Hosaka Mascut Berry A 2014, and Jounohira 2013 and so we tried this Gold Medal Tasting Set. Each wine fully expressed the characterisitc of each variety in a text book pricision. A big company like Mercian knows exactly how to bring the best out of each grape and has the technique and facility to realize that. We ate lunch outside with a view of vineyard under the full grown grape. Lunch plate tasted good and went very well with delicious wines. We were totally enjoying the moment and it got even better when the manager of the shop gave us another glass for free! It was Sauvignon blanc from Mariko Vineyard. Clean and fresh citrus scent, sweet and quite fruity for its variety, yet has a crispy smooth finish. It was my favorite wine of the day!
Nice lunch made us happy and full, so its time for a stroll! Huggy Wine was located about 20 minutes away from Mercian. There were few wineries on the way, so we dropped by at Soryu, Oizumi and enjoyed few more tastings. On our way, we found a historical remain, an old wine celler made by Mr.Ryuken Tsuchiya, one of the first vintoner in Yamanashi who contributed in development of wine in that area. We also passed by MGV Winery. Its quite new and unique for its modern building structure compared to other wineries in the area.
Here we were at Huggy Wine. The summer was extreamly hot this year and so the harvest was about 2 weeks earlier than usual year. That means the winery was extreamly busy that day but Mr.Hagiwara was a very nice man and spared his time for us to tell his story. He is the 4th generation of Huggy Wine. He has unique looks, very fashionable with an attitude of so called a bad ass (LOL) but you'd be surprise to find that he is actually a very serious and passionate person in wine making. He takes chemical approach by analying the soil and found out that mineral is a key factor to add robustness in Koshu grape. So he came up with an idea of recycling the waist of shells used in the local food. He also spent enormous time discovering 4 ancient grapes existing in Japan, proteced them, patented them and now growing them. He also challenged in a new cultivation style for Koshu grape which no one had tried for more than 200 years, and suceeded in adding more amino acid to the grape. Mr.Hagiwara is a guy with a vision and forceeing the future of Japanese Wine. He agressively applying in verious types of competitions domestically and internationally, and won medals and awards. The tasting room were filled with his success.
After listening his story, his stuff showed us brewery space. We got a chance to taste fermentation stage day 2 Koshu out from the tank, which was so fresh, tasted and smell like freshly squeezed hard cyder. They keep trying something new, something better and this time we saw a tank filled with ancient grape furmented by wild yeast. They are trying to recreat an ancient wine making. I definetely would like to taste that! At the end, we got to taste several wines of his brand while listening the background of making each wine. Each story was attractive and made each wine taste even better. I really enjoyed and had a good time there, thank you Mr.Hagiwara!