This stunning Suntory Tomi No Oka Chardonnay is another fantastic expression in a line of brilliant releases from Suntory’s multi-award-winning winery. It’s dry and woody with a subtle fruitiness lingering in the background and just a hint of pepper spice. Beautiful.
The birthplace of Japanese winemaking, Yamanashi prefecture is the largest and most famous of Japan’s winemaking regions. Surrounded by tall mountains, overlooked by Mt. Fuji and bathed in long hours of sunlight, it is no wonder that Yamanashi has established itself as the leading region for exceptional quality wine. Only two hours’ drive west of Tokyo, this landlocked prefecture is the epicentre of wine tourism in Japan and boasts the highest concentration of wineries of any region. It has a rich clay soil that, whilst unideal for cultivating rice, is perfect for viticulture. The low rainfall, sunlight and sheltered topography of the area help produce some of the finest quality grapes – and most sought-after wines - in Japan.
Yamanashi’s quest for quality and authenticity can be typified through its successes in becoming Japan’s first Geographical Indication (GI) for wine and championing legislation introduced in 2018 to only allow wine made with 100% Japanese grapes to be labelled “Japanese Wine”. It is impossible to talk about Yamanashi without mentioning Koshu Grapes, Japan’s native grape variety. Yamanashi has been growing Koshu grapes for centuries; the name “Koshu” was the ancient name for Yamanashi. Yamanashi has also been at the forefront of hybridising new grape varieties (such as the outstandingly soft and luscious Muscat Bailey A) that make the most out of the unique climate and terroir.
A wine from Yamanashi is the traditional starting point for those exploring Japanese wine for the first time and it is a region that enthusiasts find themselves returning to time and time again.