We at drinkingjapan.org are always open to new experiences. Recently, we decided to spend some time with the animals—no, not the Black Friday sales crowd! Sensing the need for a little rustication, we got up off our old rusty-dusties and traveled to Gunma Prefecture to visit Gunma Safari Park safari.co.jp. In addition to the Wizard’s lions and tigers and bears, we saw numerous deer, dromedaries, and a single but very vocal donkey. Of course, there were many more animals there as well, including the Malayan tapir, who unfortunately did not make an appearance, probably owing to the fact that she could not fit into her “white skirt.” On the whole, the experience was most enjoyable. For one of us, the high point of the trip was when we walked into the gift shop and descried this bottle (pictured above) of Animal Kingdom Safari Park Special Reserve.
Now, it is true that some animals are no strangers to alcohol. One hears of drunken elephants, which is a rare occurrence because the beasts do not usually have access to the amounts of alcohol likely to intoxicate them. Then, there are drunken seagulls, which are sometimes seen consuming the remnants of discarded beer cups on British beaches, often resulting in erratic flights and unwanted encounters with closed windows. And our astute readers will know all about the Siberian dwarf hamster, an animal that has mastered the art of fermentation!1 Not kidding!
So with that information implanted in our noggins, we enthusiastically removed the stopper, poured the wine, and were not disappointed with what we experienced. This is a dry red wine made—perhaps prepared is a better word to use here—by a Gunma-based winery, Tsukada Farm, a.k.a. Miyama Winery. The wine is actually made in an unspecified foreign country, and Japanese grapes, presumably crushed, are added. The nose is floral and slightly sugary; the color medium ruby, and the abv 12%. There is a pleasant sensation on the palate of well-balanced acidity and sweetness, along with subdued tannins. Our overall evaluation is that this is a pleasant wine for casual drinking. We wonder how the Siberian dwarf hamsters would rate it.