Furano Red, Viticulture and Enology Experiment Station
Furano, Hokkaido, Japan, ¥1000 (approx HK $65), cork seal
Japan is certainly not renowned for its wine industry and I bought this bottle for novelty value while skiing earlier in the year. The wilds of Hokkaido, Japan's northern most island, offer fantastic outdoor activities: hiking, skiing, fishing, surfing and paddling, but also produce some interesting culinary delights (see here). Sapporo beer, giant crabs, potatoes, fantastic cheese, salmon, chocolates, lavender, tomatoes and beef are all regional specialities, along side Hokkaido's small wine industry. While skiing I tried a few pleasant whites including a Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Muller Thurgau. I'd been sitting on this bottle for a while and decided it was time to face my fears; I opened it over dinner with my family.
The wine was a surprisingly deep purple in colour and without being able to read the label I'd guess it was a cool climate Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose was pretty thin with earthy aromas, mushroom, a hint of smoky spice, cinnamon and a slight green note. On the palate there were traces of sweet berries, plum and a thin waft of smoke. It was surprisingly well structured with controlled alcohol and restrained tannins. The palate lacked depth and weight and my brother commented "it doesn't have much balls, does it?", though I'm not sure if Japanese wines likes playing ball games I tend to agree with him. While not outstanding the Furano Wine was certainly not offensive and offered a novel drinking experience.
Visit winery website or check out Japanese wine website