The great thing about Katsunuma (one of the main winery areas in Japan) is it’s size. Pretty much each winery and vineyard is in walking distance.
Our “minshoku” (called Tembouen and highly recommended if you stay in Katsunuma) which is like a Japanese B&B seemed to be pretty much in the centre and was within 10 minutes walking distance of 4 wineyards including one of the largest and most famous, Mercian.
However we started with a little winery, called Domaine Chateraise that was literally next to our B&B.
It had a very small tasting room/shop and was empty when we went. Despite it being a national holiday and crowds were expected I guess they weren’t in the mood for wine tasting that day.
This suited us fine, as the very nice lady gave us her full attention and kept pouring wine for us.
The owner of the winery also runs a French cake shop (that was his first love) but always wanted to open a winery, and seeing as everyone in Katsunuma (“The Town of Grapes” as it’s called) grows grapes, I guess it wasn’t much of a big step to open up this winery.
Some very nice wines they made too. I soon discovered I prefer the Japanese whites to the reds, as the reds tend to be too light bodied, juice like and use some unusual grapes (like Muscat Bailey A – which has an unusual strong berry taste).
This white in particular I rated highly. Made from the Koshu grape, the only grape native to Japan, this wine was very pleasant and easy to drink.
Some of the others were a bit less easy to drink (mainly due to the lightness of the reds as I mentioned earlier), but this was my first time to try a Kai Noir grape variety wine which was a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately, as it was the first winery we hit we didn’t buy any wine, promising to return, but never did 🙁
I would have liked to have bought the Koshu and the Kai Noir.
Oh well, maybe next time.
One other thing I noticed about Japanese wine, or rather the bottles is, that apart from maybe Grace Winery (I’ll blog about them later), most of the wine labels, look, well, unsophisticated and kinda cheap compared to French, Italian, etc labels. They don’t even have the humour of some of the American or Australian labels. Which is a shame and to be honest I think could be hampering their sales in the west. Or maybe I’m just a label snob 😉
Other wines from Domaine Chateraise: