Top 19 Best Yamanashi Wines to Buy Online 2019 – Tried and True!

Top 19 Best Yamanashi Wines to Buy Online 2019

Yamanashi has been pushing its way into the forefront of the wine world in recent years, taking multiple medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Its alcohol has begun appearing as selections on lists of fine wines at international establishments. It’s contributed to the current surge in Japanese wine tourism.

The wine industry in Japan is still continuing to grow and develop, and we thought it was high time for an updated list of the best Yamanashi wines available to consumers now. So we pulled up a list of famous Yamanashi wineries, including the award-winning L’orient Winery and Grace Wine, and ordered their 19 most popular wines from Japan’s e-commerce giants.

We also consulted certified wine experts and sommeliers and hosted a wine tasting. We tested for the following point(s):

  1. Deliciousness

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Yamanashi wine. We’ve got a good line-up, ranging from reasonable selections you can enjoy after every evening meal and more expensive ones for special occasions.

Table of Contents

A Slightly More Formal Introduction to Yamanashi Wine

A Slightly More Formal Introduction to Yamanashi Wine

Okay, so we may have gotten a bit over-zealous, but we realize that not everyone is an expert on Yamanashi wines. Here’s a quick primer. The phrase “Yamanashi wine” refers to wine fermented and bottled in Yamanashi prefecture; it must also be wholly made up of grapes cultivated in Yamanashi.

Even if a wine was produced in Yamanashi, unless it clears several conditions set by Japan’s National Tax Agency (for some reason), it cannot officially be labeled “Yamanashi wine.” These conditions touch upon things like the variety of grapes used, the method of cultivation, and the level of alcohol.

Only after it has met these conditions and passed an inspection can a wine claim the title (and label) of Yamanashi wine.

And we mentioned this before, but Yamanashi wines have recently been bringing home medals from the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), further cementing Yamanashi’s international renown.

How to Choose Yamanashi Wine – Buying Guide

We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the wines, but before that, we want to introduce two things you should look out for when picking out Yamanashi wine.

① What Grapes are Being Used?

If you want to know your wines, then you’ve got to know your grapes. Because once you know your grapes, you’ll be able to make a rough guess as to the taste of any wine.

Yamanashi wine can be made from all sorts of grapes, from local species to internationally-grown celebrities. Here are a few of the most common.

Japan’s Native Variety: Koshu

Japan's Native Variety: Koshu

Koshu※1 is a white wine grape. It’s indigenous to Japan, though it does carry some European DNA. It isn’t too heady and instead has a light, clean scent–almost citrus-like–and biting acidity. When particularly sour, it gives off a fragrance similar to that of lemons or limes; when more mellow, it’s likened to the Japanese citrus fruits yuzu and sudachi.

To experience the full flavor of Koshu grapes, try them in a simple white wine. If you are searching for greater depth, try something where the winemaking process was more involved, such as a bottle aged sur lie– that is, aged directly on the lees for lengths of time in order to extract and fill out flavors.

※1 甲州: Koshu

Known for Its Thick Umami: Muscat Bailey A

Known for Its Thick Umami: Muscat Bailey A

Muscat Bailey A’s※2 a red wine grape and can be said to be the face of Japan’s wine industry. It’s got a sweet scent, reminiscent of strawberry gumdrops or cotton candy, as well as a sharp sourness. It’s lightly tannic and bursts in your mouth with all the force of fresh fruit.

That clean, fruity taste makes Muscat Bailey A wines a perfect companion for Japanese meat and fish dishes. Try them if you find most red wines too astringent.

※2 マスカット・ベーリーA: Muscat Bailey A

Skillfully Balances out Bitter and Sour Elements: Cabernet Sauvignon

Skillfully Balances out Bitter and Sour Elements: Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon※3 is the most popular variety of black grape in the world. It’s got an extremely rich fragrance–a mixture of the thick fruitiness of dark-skinned berries like blackcurrants and the spiciness of pepper, with the refreshing chill of mint thrown in.

Cabernet Sauvignon is both sour and tannic, and simply by exposing it to air, you can change its flavor in subtle and wonderful ways. It pairs well with Western foods–in particular, roasts of red meat and steak.

※3 カベルネ・ソーヴィニョン: Cabernet Sauvignon

Round and Mellow in Flavor: Merlot

Round and Mellow in Flavor: Merlot

Merlot※4 is second in popularity only to Carbernet Sauvignon. It’s got a scent that’s sometimes compared to ripe black cherries and, when more bitter, likened to coffee or chocolate.

It’s less sour and tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s smooth and has an elegant taste; this, too, would be a good choice for those who don’t like astringent wines.

Merlot goes well with foods that are more mellow and full; think of stewed and braised meat dishes like beef stew or even the Japanese hot pot dish sukiyaki.

※4 メルロー: Merlot

Takes on Different Characteristics Depending on Where It was Produced: Chardonnay

Takes on Different Characteristics Depending on Where It was Produced: Chardonnay

Chardonnay※5 is called the Queen of White Wines. Its flavor changes depending on the place and method of production.

In colder climates, Chardonnay takes on an elegant taste that’s sharply acidic, as well as the fragrance of apples or pears. In warmer climates, it takes on a full, mellow flavor similar to ripe pineapples or banana.

Chardonnay wine produced in Yamanashi has the refreshing scent of green apples. It tastes fresh and elegant. It complements not only fish but also pork and poultry dishes.

※5 シャルドネ: Chardonnay

Known as the Phantom Grape: Adirondac

Known as the Phantom Grape: Adirondac

Vineyards that cultivate Adirondac※6 are extremely rare, earning it the appellation of “phantom grape.” In Japan, most producers are near the Katsunuma region in Yamanashi prefecture.

Cultivating Adirondac is a painstaking process, which is why there are few dedicated vineyards. Not only must you harvest the grapes with care, cradling each cluster in both hands, but they’re also particularly susceptible to pests like birds and insects–producers know not to expect bountiful harvests.

Adirondac has the sweet scent of raspberries and feels clean–elegant–on the tongue. It also tastes of fruit, both round and delicate.

※6 アジロンダック: Adirondac

Often Snacked Upon Whole: Delaware, Niagara, Kyoho

Often Snacked Upon Whole: Delaware, Niagara, Kyoho

Delaware※7, Niagara※8, and Kyoho※9 are varieties you can find in supermarkets.

They smell fruity and taste sweet, which is why they’re so often snacked on, but in wines, these characteristics come off too strong and often overpower the taste of other foods. Honestly speaking, even when fermented, the grapes taste more like juice than wine.

Actually, most wines made from grapes that are normally eaten turn out sweet. Therefore, they’re best had after dinner as a dessert wine; you would also like them if you aren’t a big fan of alcohol and/or are looking for a sweet wine that’s easy to swallow.

※7 デラウエア: Delaware
※8 ナイアガラ: Niagara
※9 巨峰: Kyoho

② At Which Winery was It Produced?

At Which Winery was It Produced?

Out of the 280-some wineries in Japan, over 80 are located in Yamanashi.

Each brand has a character of its own and certain peculiarities–there’s Kurambon Winery, for example, which specializes in sweet alcohols, and Grace Wine, known for their delicate dries. So once you’ve found a Yamanashi wine that you particularly like, we recommend tucking away the name of its producer in your mind.

Many wineries also participate in the Yamanashi Nouveau, a festival that celebrates the release of new wines. It’s held annually, on the third of November in Tokyo and a bit later in Yamanashi prefecture. If you get a chance, do participate–it’s always great fun to find a winery you love and compare their new concoctions with old favorites.

Below, we’ve introduced two wineries you may have already heard of; they’ve both won gold at international wine competitions and are the current forerunners of the Japanese winemaking industry.

Grace Wine

Grace Wine

Grace Wine is a long-standing winery established in 1923 in the town of Katsunuma in Yamanashi prefecture. They mainly cultivate Koshu grapes but also deal in Western varieties such as Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Grace Wine adds no extra sweet or sour elements to their products; their principle is to make wine in as natural a way as possible. They produce Koshu wines that have umami and are both clean and elegant.

The woman in charge of cultivation over at Misawa Vineyards and the current chief winemaker at Grace Wines, Ayana Misawa, studied abroad in both France and South Africa, where she learned about the art of winemaking. Upon her return to Japan, she worked on the Cuvée Misawa Akeno Koshu 2013, which won gold at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Grace Wine is at the forefront of Japanese winemaking and and is the winery that made the world aware of the limitless potential of Koshu grapes.

L’Orient Winery

L'Orient Winery

L’Orient is a family winery that spans three generations, stretching back to 1938, when it was also established in the town of Katsunuma in Yamanashi prefecture.

As a winery from the Orient, L’Orient seeks to craft high-quality wines that don’t pale even in comparison to those produced by well-established makers in Europe. L’Orient’s winery is also a must-see for anyone interested in Yamanashi wine tours, as it offers visitors a chance to tread on grapes, bottle wines, and design their own labels.

As for its performance at the Decanter World Wine Awards, L’Orient brought home the gold medal with its first entry ever: the Cellar Master Koshu 2016.

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

Now to introduce the 19 most popular Yamanashi wines that we ordered and the process by which we tasted them.

<The Products We Tasted>

  1. Diamond Breweries Muscat Bailey A Ycube (ダイヤモンド酒造 ますかっとべーりーA Ycube)
  2. Suntory Tomi no Oka Winery Tomi no Oka Red (サントリー 登美の丘ワイナリー 登美の丘 赤)
  3. Manns Wines Koshu Sparkling Wine ~Kobo no Awa~ (マンズワイン 甲州 酵母の泡)
  4. Maruki Winery Kyoho Nigori (まるき葡萄酒 巨峰にごり)
  5. Grace Wine Grace Koshu (中央葡萄酒 グレイス甲州)
  6. Soryu Winery Freezing Wine Red (蒼龍葡萄酒 フリージングワイン 赤)
  7. Toriivilla Imamura Katsunuma Rouge  (鳥居平今村 勝沼 ルージュ)
  8. Suntory Japan Premium Koshu (サントリー ジャパンプレミアム 甲州)
  9. Grace Wine Koshu Toriibira Vineyard Private Reserve (中央葡萄酒 甲州 鳥居平畑 プライベートリザーブ)
  10. Lumiére Sparkling Koshu (ルミエール スパークリング 甲州)
  11. Marufuji Winery Rubaiyat Koshu Sur Lie (ルバイヤート 甲州シュール・リー)
  12. Château Mercian Koshu Gris de Gris (シャトー・メルシャン 甲州グリ・ド・グリ)
  13. Haramo Wine Koshu Lees contact (原茂ワイン 甲州シュールリー)
  14. Kurambon Wine Adirondac (くらむぼんワイン アジロンダック)
  15. Marufuji Winery Rubaiyat Muscat Bailey A Barrel Aged Red (丸藤葡萄酒 ルバイヤート マスカットベリーA樽貯蔵 赤)
  16. Chânmoris Wine Niagara (盛田甲州ワイナリー ナイアガラ)
  17. Kurambon Wine Bel Alba Muscat Bailey A (くらむぼんワイン ベルアルバ マスカットベーリーA)
  18. Katsunuma Winery Arugano Clan (勝沼醸造 アルガーノクラン)
  19. Chateau Sakaori Koshu Dry (シャトー酒折 甲州ドライ)

We then tested for flavor.

Test: Deliciousness

Deliciousness

Testing this time was simple–we were looking for a delicious wine.

We had wine experts try all the wines and look for ones that skillfully balanced sweetness and acidity and tasted good. We then graded each wine on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: Many of the Wines Received High Marks. But the Best-Tasting Wines were the Ones that Drew out the Character of the Grapes

The Big Takeaway: Many of Our Wines Received High Marks. But the Best-Tasting Wines were the Ones that Drew out the Character of the Grapes

Generally speaking, all the Yamanashi wines were tasty. But of the ones that received an A or A+, most in some way reflected the characteristics of the grapes used. If it was a Koshu wine, for example, it contrasted sharp acidity with a gentle citrusy scent. If it was Muscat Bailey A, it smelled of strawberry gumdrops and cotton candy but was also sour and tannic.

Know, too, that flavor is incredibly elusive when it comes to description. Not all wine will taste like what it says on the label. However, most of the wines that we gave high scores to did live up to their claims and accurately mirrored the descriptions put forth by the brand.

Finally, when you find a wine you like, remember to write down where and by whom it was produced and what grapes were used. If you share that information with a sommelier, he or she will be able to introduce you to more wines that you’re sure to enjoy.

The Final Verdict: Top 19 Best Yamanashi Wines to Buy Online 2019

Now to introduce the 19 most popular Yamanashi wines available online. They were ranked by how well they did during tasting and given an overall “deliciousness” grade ranging from D to A+.

19. Maruki Winery Kyoho Nigori 2018

Maruki Winery Kyoho Nigori

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $14.58

Orchid Pink Makes for a Lovely Wine. A Sweet Drink for Those Who Aren’t Keen on Alcohol

This was a simple wine that showcased the flavor of Kyoho grapes; it was sweet and easy to down. It was very fruity and there wasn’t much complexity to its taste, so it might fall a bit flat for wine connoisseurs.

However, we heavily recommend it to those who want something similar to juice. Because it is quite sweet, make sure that you properly chill it before serving.

Grape/Wine Kyoho/Rosé Winery Maruki Winery
Sourness ★★☆☆☆ Sweetness ★★★★☆
Bitterness ★☆☆☆☆ Complexity ★☆☆☆☆
Fruitiness ★★★★☆ Deliciousness B

18. Toriivilla Imamura Katsunuma Rouge 2016

Toriivilla Imamura Katsunuma Rouge

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $15.48

Quite Sour, which Throws the Flavors off Balance

The sourness of the Black Queen (a variety of Japanese grape) came out in full force and made this wine hit or miss.

It also had a bit of a peaty fragrance, reminiscent of brine and oysters, so we can’t really recommend this product to anyone who’s not already familiar with Yamanashi wine.

Grape/Wine Black Queen/Red Winery Chateau Katsunuma
Sourness ★★★☆☆ Sweetness ★★★☆☆
Bitterness ★★★★★ Complexity ★★★★☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness B

17. Katsunuma Winery Arugano Clan 2016

Katsunuma Winery Arugano Clan

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $12.15

The Sour One. Experience the Full Force of Cabernet Sauvignon

All of our reviewers were left with the same first impression. “This wine is sour.”

You could really taste the Cabernet Sauvignon that formed the base of this wine, leaving it extremely tannic. We’d recommend pairing it with something rich, like a fatty Wagyu steak.

Grape/Wine Muscat Bailey A, Cabernet Sauvignon/Red Winery Katsunuma Winery
Sourness ★★★★★ Sweetness ★☆☆☆☆
Bitterness ★★★★☆ Complexity ★★★☆☆
Fruitiness ★★☆☆☆ Deliciousness B

16. Kurambon Wine Adirondac

Kurambon Wine Adirondac

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $15.75

Ideal for First-Time Wine Drinkers. A Sweet and Refreshing Brew Made from the Phantom Grape

Most of our reviewers agreed that this wine had a fragrance similar to chewing gum or candy.

It didn’t really taste or smell like alcohol. Instead, it had a light sweetness to it that appealed to the masses. We’d recommend this wine to people just starting to drink or to those who prefer something a bit similar to juice.

Grape/Wine Adirondac/Red Winery Kurambon Wine
Sourness ★★★☆☆ Sweetness ★★★★☆
Bitterness ★★☆☆☆ Complexity ★★☆☆☆
Fruitiness ★★★★☆ Deliciousness B

15. Chânmoris Wine Niagara

Chânnmoris Wine Niagara

Visit Amazon for more details  (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $11.67

Bursts Forth with a Fruity Sweetness–Just like Biting into a Grape. A Well-Balanced Dessert Wine

It tasted more like grapes than wine and had a fresh fragrance.

All the flavors were well-balanced, making this the perfect dessert wine to end a meal. Take just a few sips, and you’ll find yourself no longer craving sweets.

Grape/Wine Niagara/White, Dessert Winery Morita Koshu – Chânmoris
Sourness ★☆☆☆☆ Sweetness ★★★★☆
Bitterness ★☆☆☆☆ Complexity ★☆☆☆☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness B

14. Chateau Sakaori Koshu Dry 2017

Chateau Sakaori Koshu Dry 2017

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $13.61

Satisfying to Drink. A White Wine that Highlights the Bitterness of Koshu Grapes

This wine was served at the 42nd G7 summit, also known as the Ise-Shima summit. It showcased the characteristics of Koshu grapes.

It was full-bodied and featured a tart bitterness. It also had a foamy texture, which made it overall very easy to drink. We recommend pairing this wine with traditional Japanese dishes, like Yamanashi’s nourishing hōtō noodles or rich mushroom tempura.

Grape/Wine Koshu/White Winery Chateau Sakaori
Sourness ★★★☆☆ Sweetness ★★☆☆☆
Bitterness ★★★★☆ Complexity ★★★☆☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness B

13. Manns Wines Koshu Sparkling Wine ~Kobo no Awa~

Manns Wines Koshu Sparkling Wine ~Kobo no Awa~

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $15.17

If You’re Looking for a Sweet Sparkling Wine, Resplendent with the Clear Taste of Koshu

It smelled citrusy. It tasted sweet. It felt transparent, refreshing. It was overall a fruity sparkling wine.

This wine had a sharpness that reminded us of sake, but it drew character from the traces of sugar the winemaker chose to leave in. It’s another good choice for those who aren’t big fans of alcohol and enjoy drinks that are sweet and fizzy.

Grape/Wine Koshu/Sparkling Winery Manns Wines Katsunuma Winery
Sourness ★★☆☆☆ Sweetness ★★★☆☆
Bitterness ★☆☆☆☆ Complexity ★☆☆☆☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness B

12. Suntory Japan Premium Koshu 2016

Suntory Japan Premium Koshu

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $14.05

If You’re Looking for Something You Can Guzzle. A Light and Refreshing Yamanashi Wine

It had a crisp fragrance reminiscent of apples or mint and was quite simple and very easy to drink.

Because it was such a clean-tasting white wine, it would pair well with creamy foods or Japanese dishes featuring the (more) buttery Saikyo and light brown varieties of miso. It would also do well as a chilled drink on hot summer evenings.

Grape/Wine Koshu/White Winery Suntory
Sourness ★★★★☆ Sweetness ★★★☆☆
Bitterness ★★☆☆☆ Complexity ★★☆☆☆
Fruitiness ★★☆☆☆ Deliciousness B

11. Suntory Tomi no Oka Winery Tomi no Oka 2016 Red

Suntory Tomi no Oka Winery Tomi no Oka 2016 Red

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $38.91

Great Wine to Have with Dinner. Brings out the Lightness and Elegance of Merlot

We’d recommend this wine to anyone who likes a good Merlot.

It was astringent but not too tannic, and it was light enough to go well with traditional Japanese fare. Our tasters did describe the wine as “closed”–that is, they felt that the acidity in the wine was a bit overpowering but hoped the drink would “open up” with time. We recommend decanting the wine or letting it sit for a bit after uncorking it.

Grape/Wine Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Muscat Bailey A/Red Winery Suntory Tomi no Oka Winery
Sourness ★★☆☆☆ Sweetness ★★★☆☆
Bitterness ★★★☆☆ Complexity ★★★★☆
Fruitiness ★★☆☆☆ Deliciousness B

10. Haramo Wine Koshu Lees contact 2017

Haramo Wine Koshu Lees contact 2017

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $16.62

An Above Average Wine with a Floral Scent and a Simple Flavor Profile

Though there wasn’t much complexity to this wine, it still scored above average on all counts.

The aroma of Koshu grapes was present in full force, reminding us of white flowers, mimosa, or honey. It was a simple and well-balanced white wine, quite dry, and would go well with Japanese food.

Grape/Wine Koshu/White Winery Haramo Wine
Sourness ★★★☆☆ Sweetness ★★★☆☆
Bitterness ★★★☆☆ Complexity ★★★☆☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness A

9. Marufuji Winery Rubaiyat Muscat Bailey A Barrel Aged 2016 Red

Marufuji Winery Rubaiyat Muscat Bailey A Barrel Aged Red

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $20.33

If You Like to Slowly Sip and Savor Your Wine. A Red Yamanashi You Won’t Tire of

In a word, this wine was elegant. It contained Merlot grapes in addition to Muscat Bailey A, so it didn’t so much smell like berries as give off the complex fragrance of vanilla or toast.

This wine was hard to tire of and was ideal for sipping. It would pair well with sweeter stews and simmered Japanese dishes. It was a bit tight, however (that is, the flavors were so closely pressed together that they became muted), so we recommend letting it air and unwind a bit before drinking.

Grape/Wine Muscat Bailey A, Merlot/Red Winery Marufuji Winery – Rubaiyat
Sourness ★★★★☆ Sweetness ★★☆☆☆
Bitterness ★★☆☆☆ Complexity ★★★★☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness A

8. Soryu Winery Freezing Wine Red 2017

Soryu Winery Freezing Wine Red

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Soryu Winery for more details (Japan only)

Price: $23.14

The Sweet Wine that Came out on Top. A Dessert Wine that Tastes and Smells like Strawberry Jam

Even our wine experts were surprised to find an ice wine made solely from the juice of Muscat Bailey A grapes. It had the flavor of slowly simmered strawberry jam and would pair well with salty foods like Gorgonzola cheese.

It also went well with chocolate, so this would be a lovely wine to pass around when enjoying desserts in the evening.

Grape/Wine Muscat Bailey A/Red, Dessert Winery Soryu Winery
Sourness ★★★☆☆ Sweetness ★★★★★
Bitterness ★★☆☆☆ Complexity ★★☆☆☆
Fruitiness ★★★★★ Deliciousness A

7. Kurambon Wine Bel Alba Muscat Bailey A

Kurambon Wine Bel Alba Muscat Bailey A

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $14.32

For Those Who Like Natural Wine. A Rosé Bursting with the Condensed Umami of Grapes

If you like natural wines, the way they’re almost alive and how they preserve the natural tastiness of grapes, then you’ll appreciate Kurambon’s Bel Alba.

The whole grape and all of its umami was packed into this wine, such that we could even taste the bitterness of the peels. It was a bit foamy and very fruity and would pair well with vegetables, pork, and chicken.

Grape/Wine Muscat Bailey A/Rosé Winery Kurambon Wine
Sourness ★★☆☆☆ Sweetness ★★☆☆☆
Bitterness ★★★★☆ Complexity ★★★★☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness A

6. Diamond Breweries Muscat Bailey A Ycube 2015

Diamond Breweries Muscat Bailey A Ycube

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $26.34

If You Want to Experience the Natural Fruitiness of Muscat Bailey A

Most of our tasters agreed that this wine was best at showcasing the unique taste and fragrance of Muscat Bailey A.

It not only gave off the fresh scent of berries but also was sweet without being sugary, reminding us of the mellow flavor of wagashi. It then left behind a refreshing sourness on our tongues. In other words, this wine tasted and acted quintessentially like Muscat Bailey A.

If you haven’t yet but are interested in trying a wine featuring Muscat Bailey A, then you’ll be hard put to find a finer example than this.

Grape/Wine Muscat Bailey A/Red Winery Diamond Breweries
Sourness ★☆☆☆☆ Sweetness ★★★★☆
Bitterness ★☆☆☆☆ Complexity ★★☆☆☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness A

5. Marufuji Winery Rubaiyat Koshu Sur Lie 2016

Marufuji Winery Rubaiyat Koshu Sur Lie 2016

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $17.51

Well-Balanced Wine that Excels in Every Subject

Our tasters agreed that this was overall a well-balanced wine. It wasn’t too sweet and had a pleasing bitterness and complexity of flavor that piqued our interest. The attack, or initial taste, of the wine was a bit sweet, but the aftertaste was clear and invigorating. It would go well with delicate fish dishes, including sushi.

However, in part because this wine was aged sur lie, it had some faint reduced notes–meaning that lack of oxygen during fermentation allowed certain compounds in the wine to react, resulting in the lovely smell of sulfur (rotten eggs). These compounds are volatile, though, so we recommend letting the wine sit and “air” for a bit before drinking.

Grape/Wine Koshu/White Winery Marufuji Winery – Rubaiyat
Sourness ★★★☆☆ Sweetness ★★☆☆☆
Bitterness ★★★★☆ Complexity ★★★★☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness A

4. Château Mercian Koshu Gris de Gris 2015

Château Mercian Koshu Gris de Gris

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $27.03

Well-Rounded Flavor Sure to Be Appreciated by Many. Have it Alongside Foods Seasoned with Lemon

All of our tasters found this wine delicious. It was neither too sweet nor too dry, having instead a well-rounded flavor that could appeal to anyone. It was full-bodied, deep, and complex. It would compliment more subtle and delicate seasonings. We suggest trying it with foods flavored with simple salt or lemon.

It was also of an indescribably beautiful color, so this wine would be a great choice for parties or other celebratory occasions.

Grape/Wine Koshu/White Winery Château Mercian
Sourness ★★★☆☆ Sweetness ★★☆☆☆
Bitterness ★★★☆☆ Complexity ★★★★☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness A+

3. Grace Wine Grace Koshu 2017

Grace Wine Grace Koshu

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $30.37

Even Connoisseurs of Wine Can’t Get Enough of It. A Dry Wine with a Clean, Refreshing Acidity

This wine was so faithful to the flavor of Koshu grapes, drinking it was like being in Yamanashi. It had the scent of citrus fruits, tasted refreshingly sour, and closed out with a pleasant bitterness–the very textbook definition of a Koshu grape wine.

Each of our tasters had a sip and immediately proclaimed Grace Koshu delicious. It was a dry white wine that would go well with traditional Japanese fare, like grilled fish.

This would also make a good present to a wine or sake lover. The label was actually designed by Kenya Hara, one of Japan’s leading graphic designers, and it’s a beautiful example of Japanese aesthetics.

Grape/Wine Koshu/White Winery Central Wine – Grace Wine
Sourness ★★★★☆ Sweetness ★★☆☆☆
Bitterness ★★★★☆ Complexity ★★★☆☆
Fruitiness ★★☆☆☆ Deliciousness A+

 2. Lumiére Sparkling Koshu 2015

Lumiére Sparkling Koshu

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Visit Lumiére for more details (Japan only)

Price: $23.33

A Must-Have at Parties. A Sparkling Wine that’s a Cut Above

This was exactly as it claimed to be on the label. It was a dry sparkling wine, not very sweet and refreshing with the sourness of Koshu grapes. It was topped with creamy foam and gave off the cool scent of Japanese citrus fruits.

Acidity was the main flavor profile, and the citrusy scent tickled the nose. The wine was heavily carbonated and effervescent, so it’d be a great drink to toast with and start off the night.

Grape/Wine Koshu/Sparkling Winery Lumiére Winery
Sourness ★★★★☆ Sweetness ★★☆☆☆
Bitterness ★★★☆☆ Complexity ★★★☆☆
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness A+

1. Grace Wine Koshu Toriibira Vineyard Private Reserve 2017

Grace Wine Koshu Toriibira Vineyard Private Reserve

Visit Amazon for more details (Japan only)

Visit Rakuten for more details (Japan only)

Visit Yahoo Shopping for more details (Japan only)

Price: $32.09

Exquisite Balance of Sweet and Sour Elements. If You Want to Know What Koshu Grapes are Capable of, You Have to Try This Wine

This wine had a flavor even more complex than that of Grace Koshu, which was produced by the same winery and ranked third on our list. Out of all of the products we tested, actually, when it came to flavor complexity, Toribiira Vineyard Private Reserve was an undisputed first.

Our tasters admired how the natural sweetness of fruit melded with the mellow fragrance of the barrel and how the wine gave off the refreshing astringency characteristic of Koshu grapes. They also all agreed that, even if they were to take into account their personal preferences, this wine would still rank in among their top 5 favorites.

This is a Yamanashi wine mybest is proud to recommend to most anyone–be you a new drinker of wine that’s curious about the taste of Koshu grapes or a seasoned expert in Japanese wines. It’s also a good one to try if you’re already a fan of sake and want to explore all the other alcohol that Japan has to offer.

Grape/Wine Koshu/White Winery Central Wine – Grace Wine
Sourness ★★★★☆ Sweetness ★★☆☆☆
Bitterness ★★★☆☆ Complexity ★★★★★
Fruitiness ★★★☆☆ Deliciousness A+

How about a Pint?

If you’re into Japanese alcohols, how about learning more about our beers? We’ve got plenty of famous brands–Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo–and brew in all kinds of styles. We even have categories of beer that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Click below to find out more!

Summary

We rounded up tasters and members of our editing department, purchased the 19 top-selling bottles of Yamanashi wine, and tested them all.

Though we think that the elegance of our first-place pick, Grace Wine’s Koshu Toriibira Vineyard Private Reserve, is universally appealing, your writer personally wants to recommend Kurambon Wine’s Bel Alba Muscat Bailey A. She loved it for its complexity of flavor and bitterness that traveled down the depths of her stomach, as well as for its pretty color.

No matter what anyone says, there is always an element to food and drink that’s personal. So take a close look at our scores for specific elements like sweetness and sourness, and pick a Yamanashi wine that’s appealing to you.

Original by Rikako Miyazaki; Translation by Jasmine Li

  • Top 27 Best Japanese Beers to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!
    Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) for the best beer. We then picked out the 27 most popular cans and bottles and tried them all. Lagers, ales, pilsners, Beglian whites, Sapporo, Kirin, Asahi–you name it and we drank it. (Testing was grueling, of course.) We also asked experts in the industry about how to best enjoy a pint. We then sat down with all the beers, tasting and comparing, in order to find the most delicious of them all. Here are the brews that came out on top and how we decided. First, Let’s Get the Types of Japanese Beer Straight Not all Japanese “beer” is beer. What’s Considered a Beer in Japan? Beer comes in all sorts of colors; it gives off all kinds of scents, imparts many different flavors, contains varying levels of alcohol. And, depending on what country you’re residing in and what laws you’re abiding by, the definition of “beer” can change. It’s very difficult to come up with an all-encompassing description. E

  • Top 13 Best Sushi Vinegars to Buy Online 2018
    We know–foodies are all about the authentic stuff. When you eat sushi, you want sushi that takes you straight into the heart of a Japanese fish market, so much so that you can almost hear vendors hawking their wares. What fish and what rice you use is important, of course, but sushizu (すし酢)※1 is an often underrated ingredient in sushi-making. Sushi vinegar gives rice its depth of flavor. It’s an indispensable ingredient. So in order to find the best, we ordered the 13 most popular bottles of vinegar from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon and Yahoo Shopping) and tested them all. We also invited three certified seasoning sommeliers and asked them to taste each product. (For those that are unfamiliar with seasoning sommeliers, they are professionals that have passed an exam proctored by the Japan Seasoning Meisters Association.) The three experts then compared the following: Balance of Sweet and Sour How Well It Goes with Rice This is how we tested and found the most exce

  • Americans aren’t the only ones obsessed with mayonnaise. Mayo’s a staple in most Japanese pantries and is used for pretty much anything: dips, dressings, stirfries, drizzles. But if you’ve ever picked up a bottle of Kewpie, made notorious by their commercials featuring spinning baby heads, you know that Japanese and American mayo taste quite different. We’ll go into more detail later, but Japanese mayo’s made a little differently, most notably with a dose of MSG (though not at high enough levels that you have to worry about your health). This recipe has earned Japanese mayo an almost cult-like following: go Kewpie or go home. But Kewpie isn’t all Japan has to offer, and one has to wonder what the best Japanese mayo really is. That’s why we ordered the 9 most popular packs of mayo off Japan’s e-commerce giants and tested them all. We also invited three certified seasoning sommeliers (professionals that have passed an exam proctored by the Japan Seasoning Meisters Association) and ask

  • Top 10 Best Japanese Soy Sauces to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!
    Soy sauce※1 is the driving force behind flavor in a number of famous Asian dishes, be it stirfry, soup, or cold seaweed salad. That’s why there’s so many different kinds–each with a different color, depth, and flavor profile, some best when heated in a pan, some best when poured straight into a little sauce dish. Depending on the kind of soy sauce you use, you could completely rework a flavor. And whether it’s because you love Japanese cuisine and want to be as authentic as possible or you live in Japan and need help navigating the supermarket, you’re interested in finding the ultimate Japanese soy sauce. Well, this time around, we ordered the 9 most popular bottles of soy sauce available in Japanese supermarkets and on e-commerce sites and tested them all. We also invited three certified seasoning sommeliers and asked them to taste each product. (For those that are unfamiliar with seasoning sommeliers, they are professionals that have passed an exam proctored by the Japan Season

  • Top 10 Best Decaf Black Teas to Buy Online 2018 (Latest Edition)
    Stressed? A cup of hot tea is perfect for relaxing your body and mind. Whether you’re caffeine-sensitive, pregnant, or just want a nice hot drink in the evening, you’d probably appreciate a good cup of decaffeinated tea. So, you want to cut down on caffeine intake but worry that decaf teas don’t taste the same as their caffeinated counterparts? Don’t worry; you don’t need to compromise on taste. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the 10 best decaf black teas that actually taste like “real tea.” Enjoy your teatime. Decaf vs Caffeine Free : What’s the Difference? Have you ever wondered if there’s any difference between “decaffeinated” tea and “caffeine-free” tea? They aren’t the same, and it’s important to understand the difference, especially if you need to avoid caffeine consumption. Decaffeinated teas, or decaf teas, have gone through a process that removes most of the caffeine. By law, in the US, you’ve got to have less than 2.5% of the original caffeine level in

  • Top 10 Best Board Games for Kids to Buy Online 2019
    Board games are a great way to combine critical thinking and fun for your young ones. That’s why we’ve decided to look into what makes a great board game for kids. We came to the conclusion that the best games encourage learning, are age-appropriate, and can be enjoyed by the whole family. While some games only work for a narrow age range, others will have parents continuing to play long after the kids have gone to bed. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites. Top 10 Best Board Games for Kids to Buy Online The best game for your family is going to depend on who’s playing and their preferences (as well as patience levels). So take your own circumstances into consideration before making your pick. 1. Dragonwood: A Game of Dice & Daring Visit Amazon for more details Price: $13.49 Best Game for the Whole Family (Parents, too!) This goal of this game is to capture dragons by playing cards, rolling dice, and making calculated risks. It teaches kids the basic

  • Top 10 Best Board Games for Adults to Buy Online 2019
    Contrary to popular belief, board games aren’t just for kids, and adults aren’t confined to just playing Settlers of Catan. That’s why we’ve looked into what makes a great board game for adults. Basically, the best games fit the group that you’re playing with, are replayable or last several playing sessions, and match the occasion. So if you’re playing with a constant group of board game hobbyists, the best game for you is probably going to look different from what you would play every once in a while at a casual dinner party. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve handpicked a few of our favorite board games for adults available online. Top 10 Best Board Games for Adults to Buy Online When looking for a board game, don’t forget to consider when you’ll be playing and who you’ll be playing with. 1. Survive: Escape from Atlantis Visit Amazon for more details Price: $29.97 Best Dog-Eat-Dog Survival Game This is a competitive, cut-throat game where your task is to flee an exploding island–a

  • Top 10 Best Healthy Ketchups to Buy Online 2019
    If you think that ketchup is healthy just because it’s made from tomatoes and doesn’t have too much fat, then you might want to double check that label on the back of your bottle of Heinz. Unfortunately, although ketchup has the potential to be really quite healthy, most commercial varieties are full of preservatives, artificial flavors, and sugar. Luckily, if you do a little digging, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a healthier ketchup. In this guide we’ll go over the things to look for when figuring out just how good for you a ketchup is. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search. How to Choose a Healthy Ketchup – Buying Guide There are a few key things to look for when picking through the junk and figuring out what makes a ketchup healthy and what you might want to get for yourself. Here are some factors to keep in mind. Ingredients are Important–Look for Natural, Avoid Artificial A great rule of thumb when looking for a healthy an

  • Top 10 Best Black Tea Bags to Buy Online 2018 (Latest Edition)
    When choosing black teas, there are a number of factors to consider: aroma, taste, compatibility with milk and spices, and whether you should serve it hot or iced. On top of that, with so many brands like Harney & Sons, Vahdam, Pure Leaf, Twinings, and Stash, it can be tricky to determine which tea you will like best. Today, we are going to teach you tips and tricks to find the right black tea for you. With product reviews, prices, and comparisons, we’ll make it easy for you to pick just the tea you’re looking for. How to Choose Black Tea Bags – Buying Guide Selecting the right black tea seems easy, but the hidden truth is that each tea differs greatly in taste and fragrance. By knowing the main characteristics of each type of tea, you can pick the right tea for you in each moment. So, how to best tell the difference between each type of black tea? We asked Lu Ann, a tea enthusiast, to walk us through all the different black tea bags. Invalid Short Code. There is not profile. Please write expert_id = 8 comment.
    Choose Based on th

  • Top 10 Best Healthy BBQ Sauces to Buy Online 2018
    Barbecue sauce has a history that stretches as far back as the 1800s and is a common ingredient in many American foods today. From Sweet Chuck’s All Natural Barbecue Sauce to Annie’s Original Original BBQ Sauce, choosing the right sauce that’s healthy and that also complements your food can be a tough choice. In this article, we’ll show you how to choose the right healthy barbecue sauce, tell you which ingredients to avoid, and recommend some delicious, healthy barbecue sauces. Whether you’re looking something sweet and subtle or something bold and spicy, there’s a healthy barbecue sauce out there for you; here are our top picks for the best healthy barbecue sauces that you can buy online today. How to Choose a Healthy BBQ Sauce It can be difficult to decipher what sauces are healthy and which are not. A healthy barbecue sauce is going to have low sugar and low sodium, ingredients you will recognize, and still provide substantial flavor. Let’s break down what exactly you sh