GOURMET TREATS

The Best of the Region's Plum Wine

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Umeshu is made from ume, Japanese plums. Ume are a staple in the Japanese diet. Although normally translated into English as plums, technically, they are actually a variety of apricot. As the country's top ume producing region, Wakayama is home to some of the best umeshu. Below is a selection of top quality wines, many made with the region's premium Nanko Ume.

Yoshimura Hideo Shoten

Kishu Kanjuku Nanko Ume Neri

72 Hatake, Iwade City

In business for over 100 years, this traditional sake brewery has had plenty of time to perfect its brews. Kishu Kanjuku Nanko Ume Neri, a unique umeshu made with honey and the ripest local plums, is one such example. You'll be pleasantly surprised by its thick pulpy texture and delicate sweetness.

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Nakano BC

Tarujikomi Umeshu Hyakuyaku

758-45 Fujishiro, Kainan City

This well-known sake brewery produces Tarujikomi Umeshu Hyakuyaku, a cask-aged wine made from the region's renowned Nanko Ume plums. Unfiltered and aged for 3 years, the result is a rich nectar bursting with delicious ume flavour. The brewery offers tours and umeshu workshops.

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There is no mistaking the Babaa no Umeshu range of plum wines with striking illustrated labels. As implied by the brand’s quirky grandmother character, the wines are made following a traditional recipe passed down from generation to generation. The 19 different wines all use only local Kishu plums.

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Ishigamimura

Kinpaku Iri Umeshu Hamada

391 Kamihaya, Tanabe City

Kinpaku Iri Umeshu Hamada is a high-end plum wine made without additives or preservatives. The gold leaf used in the umeshu is befitting of its gold medal status. For three years running, from 2008 to 2010, it was awarded the top prize in the Monde Selection. The wine can be purchased through Ishigamimura.

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Hakuryu Ume Honpo sells a range of ume products, including jams and juices, made with Nanko Ume plums. Among the lineup is Wa Zipang, a light, moderately sweet wine produced by pickling local Wakayama plums in a dry sake from nearby Hyogo prefecture. It is best served chilled or over ice.

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