World leaders of G7 nations Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, the UK and the US have converged in the southern city of Hiroshima for their annual three-day meeting.
Aside from discussing thornier issues of Ukraine war, global economy the leaders were treated to a gastronomical feast that celebrates some of Japan’s most prized delicacies and exports from Hiroshima and across Japan.
Fresh seafood from sea urchin, rockfish, oysters and other produce are prepared in meticulous Kaiseki style for the foreign dignitaries but what’s interesting for us is the selection of wines served to the G7 leaders, from Koshu white wine to Hokkaido ice wine.
Japanese Prim Minister Fumio Kishida reportedly intervened to make sure the menus reflected his personal taste and being a known wine lover himself, we suspect he also had a hand in picking the bottles. All beverage services from sake to wine was supervised by Tasaki Shinya, president of Japan Sommelier Association.
Based on menus released by Japan’s ministry of foreign affairs, the working lunch on May 19 featured marinated salmon, Japanese rockfish and chicken ballotine, with a lemon semifreddo served with citrus cream and sake lees.
To go with the dishes, two white wines were selected including Hiroshima winery Yamanokyo Ota Winery’s Hokuten no Shizuku, a refreshing white with aromas of apples and banana, and an award-winning chardonnay from local Miyoshi Winery. Apparently, the Hokuten no Shizuku is already sold out, according to winery website.
The working dinner, at a traditional ryokan inn on the nearby island of Miyajima, featured a selection of seafood from the Seto inland sea, followed by a clear sea bream soup, with the main course of Hiroshima beef and eel sushi. For the main course, Yamanokyo Ota Winery’s Fuji no Yume 2021 was poured. Fuji no Yume is a local hybrid grape from Merlot and indigenous grape Yamabudo.
Saturday’s working lunch included grilled taro root and sea urchin, stuffed with natto – fermented soybeans with a pungent smell and gooey texture – made at a Buddhist temple in Kyoto.
To go with the menu, a white wine from L’Orient Winery in Yamanashi was chosen. A family-run winery headed by the 3rd-generation winemaker who studied in France, the winery makes wine from a wide variety of Japanese grape varieties and international grapes.
For the last dinner, the leaders were served a mix of local dishes and western food. Hairy crab was served, followed by lobster and chilled lemon miso soup. To go with the main course beef wellington, Miyoshi Winery’s TOMOÉ Shokoshi Muscat Bailey A was served. Made from the pink-skinned local red grape, it opens with pleasant cherry notes and wild berries and is a satisfying light-bodied red with only 12% abv.
For dessert, a Hokkaido ice wine was on pour.
The vinous theme apparently continued outside of the dining tables. For state gifts to the G7 leaders, the Japanese Prime Minister chose a handcrafted lacquered wine glass set by local artist 7th KINJO Ikkokusai as one of the parting gifts.