Nagano, Japan: Nakadanaso and Gió Hills winery

Once again, I got to stay at Nakadanaso, a Riyokan in Komoro, in Japan’s Nagano prefecture. Masaki and Youko Tomioka, the owners of this traditional-style hotel also own the Gió Hills winery, where they are making small volumes of very elegant wines, and also some ciders. You can read more about the winery here, in a report from my visit last year. The first releases from the winery were tasted here: previously the wines had been made at a custom crush facility. Their current production is 5000 bottles annually, but they plan to increase this to 12 000, and want to start making sparkling (they’ve just made their first base wine). 

We dined well with them, and tried some of the new releases

Gió Hills Fuji Cider
7% alcohol. Traditional method, then disgorged. Unfiltered. This is slightly cloudy with nice texture. Gentle pressing has produced a cider with nice sweet fruit that’s gently textured, with appley aromas and good structure on the palate. Very fine and dry. 9/10

Gió Hills Hong Ngoc Cidre
7% alcohol. Made from the Kogyku variety, which has high acidity. Brightly aromatic nose is very appley and pure. Tight, crisp palate has a pleasant bitter twist to the appley fruit. Juicy and bright. 8.5/10

Gió Hills Mimaki Chardonnay 2018 Nagano, Japan
12.5% alcohol. From clay soils on a plateau at 830 m. Fresh, pure and quite linear with a subtle stony edge to the lemony fruit. Good acidity. So delicate and fine with purity and a linear character. 93/100

Gió Hills Chardonnay Lên Men 2018 Nagano, Japan
Same fruit as the previous wine, but barrel fermented. Has hazelnut, toast and caramel on the nose. The palate has crispness and good acidity, with some mineral notes and also some vanilla and honey. Intriguing, but I prefer the unoaked version. 88/100

Gió Hills Mimaki Merlot 2018 Nagano, Japan
11 year old vines on clay soils at 830 m. Chalky, gravelly edge to the fresh blackcurrant and red cherry fruit. Lovely structure and freshness with precision and purity. Tis is very serious: it aims at finesse and achieves it. 93/100 

The food:

See also: Cyclo Vineyard/486 Winery