All the way from Hokkaido’s Tsurumura winery, this expression is part of the winery’s Otaru range. As Hokkaido’s climate is less humid and cooler than the rest of Japan, the area is suitable for grape cultivation. The venture into Pinot Noir is a rather new one by the winery, which has focused mainly on German and Austrian varieties over the years. This particular Otaru Pinot Noir Bottle of 2016 has been aged in an oak barrel for 15 months. Only 4,400 number of bottles are available for this release.
The northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido may be famous for its snow and skiing, but it has become one of the leading regions for winemaking in Japan. What many would consider a problem, Japanese winemakers saw as an opportunity. Whilst snow covers the land in the winter, during the spring, summer and autumn Hokkaido enjoys lower rainfall and humidity than the mainland. The region also enjoys no rainy season and very few typhoons. Because of the cold, pests are deterred naturally and Hokkaido is now at the forefront of organic winemaking in Japan. Despite the pervasive notion that Hokkaido must be cold and inhospitable, the climate of many of its most famous vineyards has been compared to those of Alsace and Champagne.
Niagara and Campbell Early are the two most commonly grown grape varieties here but there is a wealth of different grape varieties commonly used in Hokkaido. In particular the Pinot Noirs and German varieties such as Kerner grown here are renowned for their quality, character and depth of flavour. More and more wineries open in Hokkaido every year and its status as the fastest growing region in Japan for winemaking speaks for itself.