Oku-Izumo Vineyard’s Pinotage 2020 (奥出雲葡萄園 ピノタージュ2020): It’s Real, and It’s Real Good

drinkingjapan #drinkjapan #Japanesewine #pinotage #shimane #okuizumovineyards
The Real Deal

A few days ago the following Bloomberg headline appeared in The Japan Times: “This Digital Art Collage Sold for a Record $69 Million.” Readers are encouraged to pause for a few minutes to let this sink in. The key word here is “digital.” You see, the work of art in question does not really exist in the real world, you know, that place where most of us reside. It is not in any way tangible! The pricey and impossible-to-hang work is entitled Everydays: The First 5,000 Days and is the creation of one Beeple, or, according to Wikipedia, which is the arbiter of all things “factual” these days, Beeple Crap. Crap, of course, is beyond our remit here at drinkingjapan.org, so we will not delve or step into it. What we will say is that this kind of thing is known as a “non-fungible token,” which is defined by Wiktionary as “a cryptocurrency token that records ownership of something,” and we must say that we are grateful that such tokens do not exist in our world of sensory evaluation.

Last week’s entry was on Pinotage, a varietal closely associated with South Africa. This is a wine that is rarely produced by Japanese wineries. However, we were exceedingly fortunate to have encountered a Japanese Pinotage in our local wine shop recently. We purchased it with real money, held the cool glass bottle in our real hands, and brought it home to pour into a real glass, whose contents were emptied into our very real mouths. Oku-Izumo Vineyards, the producer of this masterpiece, is located in Shimane Prefecture, which is situated in southwestern Honshu. Its capital is Matsue, a castle town whose name is closely linked to that of writer Lafcadio Hearn (a.k.a., Koizumi Yakumo). Oku-Izumo’s Pinotage is pale ruby in color. Cherry, marshmallow (of the non-roasted variety), and Gamay-like bubblegum fill the nose with a bouquet redolent of spring. The experience is intense. This is an off-dry wine with medium (+) acidity, and an abv of 13.5%. The tannins are powerful. There is noticeable drying of the mouth, of which we are rather fond. However, for those who like their tannins a little more subdued, some bottle aging should do the trick. This Pinotage is the real deal, and one of the best that we have ever had.

Redolent of Spring

A number of years ago an unorthodox entrepreneur introduced the world to Invisible Goldfish, essentially an empty fish bowl containing some decorative sea plants. Owners could sit and marvel at their undemanding pets: “Look, can’t you see the tailfin? …Oh, no, that’s a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado.” Ah, if only he were alive today in the age of non-fungible tokens!

Recommendation level (out of five stars):


We have written a book. For more information on Japanese beverages, please check it out. You can get it at fine offline and online booksellers in Japan, including Amazon.


#drinkingjapan #drinkjapan #Japanesewine #pinotage #shimane #okuizumovineyards

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