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Cuvée Misawa Akeno Koshu

VINTAGE 2019

Following trial cultivation started in 1990, we implemented Vertical Shoot Positioning for Koshu at Misawa Vineyard in 2005.
Current size has reached 4 hectares.
Compared with those grown on conventional pergolas, Koshu from the Misawa Vineyard has smaller berries, higher sugar content (about 20%), and different organic acids composition. In fact, after spending several years looking into its composition, it became clear that Koshu from the Misawa Vineyard contained higher quantities of malic acid than those grown elsewhere.
Malolactic fermentation is a chemical reaction in which lactic acid bacteria breaks down the sharper malic acid and turns it into the softer lactic acid. It is a fermentation that goes well with red wine and Chardonnay, but for a long time it was thought to be unlikely to occur in Koshu, which has low malic acid.
However, in 2017, malolactic fermentation happened naturally in one of our test barrel. It was a moment of enlightenment into the mystery of the microorganisms that show their power only on the malic-rich Koshu from the Misawa Vineyard.
We also practice “massal selection”, which gives us vines that produce higher sugar content, smaller bunches and smaller berries from the winemaker’s perspective.
Instead of relying on fermentation techniques, we want to express the characteristic “sense of place” of the Misawa Vineyard.
In 2020, we became the first Japanese winery licensed to manufacture fermentation mash in the vineyards. This is an effort towards culturing indigenous yeasts attached to the grapes for winemaking.
In 2014, although “Cuvée Misawa Akeno Koshu” won the first gold medal for Japanese wine at the world’s largest wine competition, it continues to evolve as a prove to the yet-to-be discovered potential of Koshu.

Region Misawa Vineyard, Akeno, Yamanashi prefecture
Grape Variety Koshu
Vinification Fermentation and maturation in stainless steel tanks
Type White wine
Style Dry
Best Consumed 2021 –
Retail Price Open
 
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2019

    Vine growth went smoothly from April to June, with little rain and plenty of sunlight. In other parts of the Yamanashi prefecture, there were rainy days in July, and August was cloudy, but the influence on Misawa Vineyard was limited, and impact on grapes was minimized via proper management. In September, the lingering summer heat was scorching, and fine weather persisted, enabling the slowed maturity period due to the late arrival of summer to catch up.
    Record typhoons and heavy rains struck the Japanese archipelago from mid- to late October, but fortunately the damage was modest, and we were able to wait for proper ripening before harvest. After rigorous selection in the vineyard, fermentation and maturation occurred in stainless steel tanks. The 2019 Koshu has high acidity overall, and a firm finish with tension. This wine represents the culmination of our love for Koshu through generations and is one we want to entrust the future of Japanese wine with.

  • 2018

    The rainy season concluded by the end of June, and maturity progressed earlier than usual. Koshu in 2018 yielded less than 20 hl/ha. After rigorous selection in the vineyard at the time of harvest, it is fermented and stored in stainless steel tanks.

  • 2017

    In 2017, rainfall was very low during both the early summer and the rainy season, bringing positive effects to flowering and fruiting, which led to natural yield restrictions. I recalled we were expecting a great vintage. The blue summer sky spreaded throughout August. In September, temperature differences between day and night exceeded 20 degrees Celsius.
    Although there were two typhoons in October, the growing season was able to capitalise on the earlier weather advantages, and by getting the timing of maturity and harvest right, it resulted in an ideal vintage showing the uniqueness of the vintage characteristics.

  • 2016

    The warm winter continued to Spring, temperature remained higher than usual, budding in 2016 started earliest in memory. In May, temperature continued to be above normal, with abundant sunshine hours, promoting shoot growth and a very early bloom.
    The worrying rainy season turned out relatively mild, but from mid- to late August, came plenty of cloud cover due to the effects of typhoon and the autumn rain front. The blue sky returned in early September, but there was incessant rain for about a month after that, yielding the lowest sunshine hours in the past few years. It was a series of tough vineyard operations to ameliorate maturity, including the removal of diseased grapes and bunches. A blessed first half of the growing season by good weather, ended-up in an arduous last half during maturity.
    “Cuvée Misawa Akeno Koshu 2016” was made through laboriously treasuring the rare sunny days, but fortunately, at the world’s largest wine competition, the “Decanter World Wine Award”, it got a top score of 98 points. It was a vintage where under challenging weather, valuing the basics paid off.

 

Awards

2013 Gold Medal and Regional Trophy (1st time for Japanese wines) Decanter World Wine Awards 2014
2015 95/100 points Decanter World Wine Awards 2016
17/20 points Jancis Robinson (highest score for Japanese wines)
2016 98/100 points Decanter World Wine Awards 2017
2017 94/100 points Andrew Jefford in “World of Fine Wine Magazine”(highest score for Japanese wines)

In February 2019, “Cuvee Misawa Akeno Koshu 2015” was offered at the banquet of the Japan-Germany summit meeting between Prime Minister Abe and Chancellor Merkel.

“Green beans and asparagus al dente with straight and dry wine from Akeno, a terroir of altitude in the north of Yamanashi Valley.
The volcanism gives the Koshu grapes a clear expression on the palate, with a lot of elegance. Congratulations Ayana Misawa!”

– Olivier Poussier on the 2017 vintage (World Best Sommelier 2000)

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