New service opens up Japanese wines to the world

A website that specialises in the sale of Japanese spirits has added a new service offering to deliver Japanese wines to anywhere in the world.

Now live on dekanta.com is a section called ‘wine cellar’ that carries an inaugural collection of 40 red wines from Japan, all of which are available for delivery worldwide within 10 days.

The range “has been curated to showcase the best red wines the country has to offer,” according to dekanta.com, and includes Suntory’s Duo D’Amis Special Assemblage 2011, a Merlot-dominant blend of Bordeaux varieties and Muscat Bailey A – a hybrid grape that was bred in Japan.

UK customers can have a bottle of this top-end red wine that was created collaborately by Suntory and Domaines Barons de Rothschild for a little over £220, including a shipping cost of £30, making it the most expensive bottle on the site.

Other wines on offer include Chateau Mercian Kikyogahara Merlot 2013, Sadoya Chateau Brillant Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, along with a Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 and a Merlot 2014 from the Grace winery.

Red blends other than the aforementioned Duo D’Amis include the Suntory Tomi 2012 and 2013.

Among dekantā’s collection are also wines that have been produced from grapes that are exclusive to Japan, and developed to suit the country’s challenging, humid, climate. For example, Sagami’s Dream Red Label, the flagship red of Sagami Dream Farm winery in Kanagawa, is made with the locally grown ‘Fuji’s Dream’ grape, which was created by breeding Merlot and Japanese mountain grapes. As a result, ‘Fuji’s Dream’ is well-suited to the warm, wet climate of Japan, and is said to have “the classic fruity character of Merlot” along with “strong tannins and subtle smoke from the mountain grapes”.

Meanwhile, Tokachi-Ikeda Amurensis 2014, produced by the oldest winery in Hokkaido, “offers unusual notes of soy, umami and vegetation”, from the Amurensis variety of wild grapes, which are grown in the Ikeda area.

“Taking inspiration from Western winemakers, while developing their own techniques, methods and grapes best suited to the climate, Japanese wine producers are really starting to gain momentum,” said dekantā founder and director Makiyo Masa.

“Japanese wine has quickly grown into a strong, complex category in the wine world, and the best is yet to come,” he added.

Indeed, writing in the March edition of the drinks business (which contains an 8-page feature on the Japanese wine industry), Sarah Abbott MW recorded the rapid and recent development of this craft. “In the past 10 years the diversity, quality, and export potential of Japanese wine has been transformed,” she stated.

Japan has a long history of viticulture and cultivation of grapes for table consumption, but domestic wine production with locally produced grapes only really began in the second half of the nineteenth century.

The Yamanashi prefecture is the main region for wine making and accounts for 40% of domestic production.

There are more than 200 wineries in Japan and approximately 96% are small to medium sized companies.

For an in-depth report on the Japanese wine industry, see the March edition of db.

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