French Wines in Shizuoka

Wine Tasting at La Vigne (1)


Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value

As i found myself not busy with cricket due to heavy rain the night before I took the opportunity to visit la Vigne, the new French wine shop in Shizuoka which is conveniently equipped with a standing bar.
As usual I had the opportunity of making new from vastly different regions and ways of life as I tasted one of the dozen wines on offer:


Region: Alsace
Grapes: Pinot d’Alsace
Year: 2007
Producer/owner: Laurent Barth at Bennwihr


Clarity: Very clear and clean
Colour: Golden hue
Aroma: Light and fruity. Muscat. Elegant
Taste: Light, fruity, well balanced by pleasant acidity. Shortish tail. Light impression lingering at the back of the plalate. Muscat, memories of sweet raisins. Fleeting.

Overall: Would do well as an aperitif. Would marry well with light vegetables hors d’oeuvres and white flesh fish.
On the other hand, was subdued by the cheese I ate with it,
Probably best drunk on its own, very slightly chilled.


The “cheese tray” included (from top left around the clock):
Laguiole, Brie de Meaux, Bleu de Gex and 25-month Gouda.

420-0852 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Gofuku-Cho, 17-2, 1F (within walking distance for Shizuoka JR Station in front of Fugetsuro!)
Tel. & Fax: 054-2054181
Business hours: 10:00~22:00
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery


Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value


La Vigne, which has just opened in Shizuoka City on December 18th, 2008, is a new concept in this city as far as wine shops are concerned.

A subsidiary of a Nagoya Company which has two other shops in Kasugai City (Aichi Prefecture) and Asahikawa City (Hokkaido Prefecture), it sells wines exclusively from France and directly imported from the winegrowers!


The other innovation is the standing bar included on the premises where Mr. Hirotaka Sato and his staff serve a daily selection of wines by the glass at very reasonable prices, from 200 to 1,000 yen!. One can also have a cup of coffee instead, with a croissant or freshly baked bread. A menu including cheese, soup and light dishes/snacks is available all day long! Everything is “paid on delivery”, keeping everything to a comfortable minimum!


By all day long, I mean all day long, as they are opened from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.!


As for wines there is plenty of good value to choose from, including special sales.
Do not forget to have a good look inside the refrigerated cellar!


A limited, but excellent delicatessen display allows you to buy and take some great snacks with your wine back home, including cheese and sausages!


Come early enough to get some freshly baked bread and have a look at some interesting canned food and preserves!

A very easy-going place to taste a wine in all tranquility without the usual hassles!

420-0852 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Gofuku-Cho, 17-2, 1F (within walking distance for Shizuoka JR Station in front of Fugetsuro!)
Tel. & Fax: 054-2054181
Business hours: 10:00~22:00
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)



People certainly think twice when they want to order the better kind of French wines at あny restaurant いn Shizuoka, or anywhere else for that matter!
There is a limit to what you might afford to pay for them, then.
If you have enough confidence in your culinary talents, or alternatively in your hosting savoir-faire, why not enjoy higher quality wines at a home party for a reasonable price?
Keep in mind that whenever you buy a wine at a liquor shop in Japan, you must understand that the same bottle will fetch at least twice, and more usually, three times as much in amy restaurant.
Now, the wines you will find at Cafe-Labo in Isetan Department Store in Shizuoka City have the merit not only to be very fine wines with great value, but also to be very original. You will not find them anywhere else in Shizuoka Prefecture, and you may have a hard time looking for them elsewhere in Japan.
They were all imported directly from from the cellars through personal contacts. I went as far as to e-mail to each cellar to check!
Here are the wines currrently on sale:

Cave de Bissey, Cote Chalonnaise, Bourgogne Rouge, 2004.
Matured in oak barrels. 11.5 vol.. 2,901 yen.
This is a wine that should interest Trine as she is so fond of Bourgogne/Burgundy wines!
Growers in the Cote Chalonnaise, located between the Cotes de Beaune and Maconnais, decided some thirty years ago that their wines warranted a better destiny than to be bought by the large wineries which blended them to spice up their Bourgogne Rouge.
This particular cellar lies in a village where I spent many summers as a kid and still vividly remembers my pranks in the vineyards.
Light ruby red hue with mid-level intensity. The berry bouquet tends towards blackcurrant or blackberry. Agreeable to the palate, perfumed by fresh berries. Very easy to drink.
Most delectable served with pâtés, fine charcuterie, white meats, poultry, and soft cheese. It goes very well with Japanese food, too.

Chateau Bonnet, Saint-Amour, 2006.
13 vol. 2,901 yen
I can hear Melinda cream for that one, what with her wine tasting classes in Tokyo!
Beaujolais wines certainly deserve better treatment than being associated with the crass “Beaujolais Nouveau” inundating us regulary in this country.
Chateau Bonnet is a solid Saint-Amour, a great appellation in its own class, which goes so well with meat, pate, stews, without overpowering your senses. It is a true Beaujolais which certainly ought to be better known. At least it name would reflect your feelings!

Alsace, Clement Klur, Pinot Gris Katz, 2005. (bio wine)
13 vol. 3,801 yen
I have a special love for Alsace wines in spite of my Burgundian roots, and Clement Klug in katzenhal has produced a beauty here. Complex, lots of personality, fresh and long in mouth. Preserved fruit with a hint of fume. Perfect for aperitif and foie gras. Certainly a beauty with sushi! I can see Chuckeats checking his notes!

Alsace, Clement Klur, Cremant de Clement, brut. (bio wine)
12 vol. 3,901 yen
Here is another beauty by Clement Klur. Cremant is simply (figure pf speech) the same type of wine as the vaunted Champagne brews. But I’m sure Chrisos will agree, than yen for yen, they are certainly better value than their overpriced neighbours!
Vinified only from Pinot Blanc and Pinot Auxerrois old vines, it reveals a great structure and elegance. Very fine bubbles. To be savoured as aperitif, or with fish and white meats.

Banyuls, Le Dominicain, 6 years old.
Matured in oak barrels. 16 vol. 3,301 yen
Banyuls, in Roussillon by the Spanish border, is famed for it great port-like wines, which also represent better value again yen for yen than some disappointing vintages from Portugal.
Am I hearing Gaijin Tonic‘s ears rising to attention?
Sweet, without being cloying, it drinks so well as an aperitif. Perfect with blue cheese sprinkled with fine honey. A wine that will marry perfectly with chocolates!

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