“A good wine is one that simply expresses the grapes nurtured by the land’s climate, soil, and producers.” Based on this philosophy, Château Mercian put forth its concept of “Growing Differences in the World: Learning from the world to nurture the uniqueness of Japan,” and has cultivated this special quality that can only be expressed with Japanese wine. The current label, a refreshed design unveiled in 2002, features the Château’s logo, a bunch of grapes in growth. And the cutouts in the grapes to show the contents of the bottle represent the wine’s commitment to quality.
The style of wine to which Château Mercian aspires is “the finesse and elegance of Japan – a well-balanced, exquisite flavor.” It’s a rich personality brought about by the Japanese soil, the grapes grown in Japan, and the delicate sensibility of the Japanese.
In 2006 Mercian became a part of the Kirin Group, which invested in new fermentation, storage and other equipment to further enhance the quality of the wine.
In 2003 Mercian launched a joint research project with the Dubourdieu Laboratory at the University of Bordeaux, which culminated in the release of the fruity and aromatic Château Mercian Koshu Kiiroka, an entirely new entry in the Koshu wine category. This was made possible by the discovery of 3MH (Mercapto Hexanol), a compound responsible for citrus aroma, in koshu grapes. The grapes were harvested when these compounds were at their peak, and close attention was paid during fermentation to maximize the aroma. The resulting cuvee that most aromatically represented this variety of Koshu wine grapes was bottled.
On the label is a little blue bird. Its name is Kiiro (“yellow”), and it would come to symbolize the aroma of Koshu wines. Kiiro was named after the blue bird that appears in the book Kiiro no Kaori by the late Dr. Takatoshi Tominaga, who provided technical guidance to the researchers in the project. One day Dr. Tominaga, whose painstaking efforts led to the discovery of the “yellow aroma,” was taking a break in his university’s garden, laboring over some research. He spotted a little yellow bird, which he named Kiiro for its yellow body. It was just a baby when he found it, but as it became an adult its feathers grew in blue. Kiiro was actually a mésange bleue (Eurasian blue tit), the same Bluebird of Happiness in Maurice Maeterlinck’s play The Blue Bird. This little bird was a source of both happiness and inspiration for Dr. Tominaga throughout much of his research. An illustration of Kiiro was included on the label of Château Mercian Koshu Kiiroka as a gesture of respect to Dr. Tominaga, whose guidance in the discovery of the wine’s fresh citrus aroma was invaluable.
© 2007 Kirin Holdings Company, Limited.