Japanese Wines using 100% grapes grown in Japan and brewed in Japan have made a remarkable progress, attracting intense attention from the rest of the world. As the woke “Japanese Wine” invokes a paradigm shift, 3 key opinion leaders who are authorities on wine rigorously selected and 12 brands of “Japanese Wines” and introduce them for us.
Japanese Wine selected by Masaru Wada, a wine expert x Chateau Mercian Mariko Syrah
A world-class Japanese Wine ― While it is true that more and more Japanese wines are starting receive awards in the international competitions, it can be hardly said that they have established a solid position in the global market. Given the strong domestic demand backed by the Japanese Wine boom, Japanese wines almost appear to have shut the door to the international distribution as if it decided to estrange itself from the evolution in the rest of the world.
Despite that, Mercian, Japan’s market leader, is boldly steering its main target market to the international one, rather than complacently addressing the domestic market only. The spirit is reminiscent of the way the Japanese automobile ventured out to the global market in the past, despite being labeled as “cheap, low-grade” cars. And just as Japanese automobiles have ascended to the world’s No.1 position in the paradigm shift for energy crisis and environmental preservation, a similar paradigm shift is occurring in the wine market as well.
Trend for lighter and healthier diet overall including wine and the global boom for Japanese cuisine will no doubt work in favor of Japanese wines. In particular, the reduction in the standard alcohol contents in fine wines means that the segment has now come well within the reach of Japanese wines.
However, there is a concern that as long as Japanese wines depend on endemic species such as Koshu and Muscat Berry A, they may only be recognized as “Sushi Wine”. It is this “Mariko Syrah” that instantly drives such doubts away. Syrah, needless to say, is one of the “Major International Breeds” which are grown at many grape producing areas across the world. However, the age of rich and powerful Syrah is long since gone, and now growers across the world are aiming to produce elegant and spicy Syrah. And that is exactly what is exquisitely embodied by this “Mariko Syrah”.
Production lot, which is as low as 2,000 only, suggests that this major wine producer (Mercian) is attempting to run Mariko Vineyard in a Domaine mode which typically produce in smaller lots. That makes this brand very difficult to obtain, but whenever you can get a hold of it, it sure will give you an eye-opening wine experience.
Chateau Mercian Mariko Syrah
Producer: Chateau Mercian
Characteristic: Due to the low number of production lot of 2,000, hard to obtain. Please check the e-commerce site often.
Price: 5,400 JPY (tax included/ Researched by the Editorial Team)
Masaru Wada/Wine Expert
After graduating from Tokyo University and working for a consulting firm, has been managing an IT company. Triggered by attendance at Wine School so that he’ll know which wine to order at restaurants, became immersed in the world of wine and passed the Wine Expert exam. Since then, has become a prominent figure by winning at the 6th J.S.A All Japan Wine Expert Competition. While managing the company he owns, he lectures at a Wine School today.
Photography by Michinori Aoki
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