Wine Maker: Soryu Winery
Wine Name/Vineyard: Soryu Premium
Wine Category: Red Blend
Grape blend: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottle size: 750 ml
State or country: Japan
Cases produced: N/A
The Barrel Cellar Score: 90 points
Review date: April 13, 2021
About the Winemaker: After a 90-minute train ride heading North West of Tokyo, I stepped out of the train station and was immediately in awe of the beauty of the Katsunuma Valley. There were miles and miles of sun-soaked vineyards bookended by large, rocky, and breathtaking mountains. I had nothing on the agenda that day but walking through the vineyards in rural Japan and stopping at every tasting room that would have us. If you find yourself in tokyo, I can not recommend the day trip to Japan’s wine valley enough. It is a fantastic day.
Soryu is one of dozens of winery operations in the valley. Wineries have been established in Katsunuma for over 150 years. There are generations of experience here, but the world seems to continue to overlook the quality wine producing region. The winemakers in the valley produce a variety of both red and white wines. The wine I am reviewing today, Soryu’s “Premium” is a red blend of Merlot and Cabernet.
Color: Deep Purple
Nose: Cherry, fresh mint, and red delicious apple
Taste: Oak, cherry, eucalyptus, red berries, black pepper, and slightly under ripe apple. Finish: Sustained with paprika, black pepper and cinnamon.
Assessment: It had been nearly a decade since I had last sampled this wine or any Japanese wine, so when I opened it, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I found was an expertly balanced wine with nice “grippy” tannins and bright acidity. Spice notes compliment fruity undertones, creating a light character in what is a full-bodied wine. Japanese wine is not something that is widely spoken of in conversations about fine wine. After thoroughly enjoying this bottle, I think it should be.
Given the age on this bottle (and the slightly rusty hue, which was a result of the age) I was hoping that I didn’t get to it too late. Fortunately I did not. In fact, I think I popped the cork right on time. Ready to drink now.
The Barrel Cellar Rating – 90 points.
Pairing recommendation: Charcuterie or grilled pork loin.