Grace Koshu Toriibira Vineyard Private Reserve 2019
1 or more bottles$75.00
Gary Walsh95 points
This wine was grown in the Toriibira district, Katsunuma-village in Yamanashi on Clay Pebble soil. The vines were trained via the Pergola training system then hand picked, fermented in seasoned French Oak and aged in stainless steel tank.
Yamanashi is the first Japanese Geographical Indication (GI) for wine. Established in 2013, it is situated in the prefecture of the same name. Yamanashi is promoted as the birthplace of Japanese wine production.
Koshu is a thick skinned grape and purplish-pink in colour. Research confirms that it is over 90% vitis vinifera, meaning the grape is European in origin and suitable for winemaking. It likely arrived in Japan with Buddhism about 1,000 years ago via the Silk Road through China. Winemaking first started in Japan in the 1870s, with Katsunuma as its birthplace and still the most important area for wine-making in Japan.
“Grace” originates from the “Three Graces” in Greek mythology.
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Critic Scores & reviews
"Many years ago, I’d never have imagined that tasting a set of white wines from Japan would be one of my more favourite events of the year. It’s a life full of surprises, for sure. Smooth, fine, tinge of aniseed, apple and lemon barley, but so composed with a nutty almost sake-like umami quality, but pure. Fine flinty feel, flavour delivered with subtlety, and a long, fresh and gently textured finish. Finesse. Quiet charisma. Wines so worthy, and so worth seeking out here."
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Although Japan has a long history of viticulture and grape cultivation for table consumption, domestic wine production with locally produced grapes is much more recent (late 19th century). Today, more than 200 wineries exist in Japan. The Japanese are producing wines in a range of climates and areas throughout the country, from mountains and valleys to coastal areas, with Japan generally seeing more rainfall and humidity than the major wine-producing areas of Europe. The main winemaking region, which accounts for roughly one-third of domestic production, is in Yamanashi Prefecture. Other regions include Hokkaido, Nagano, and Yamagata. Japan cultivates a wide range of grape varieties; however, most of these are for table consumption, with only a small percentage used in domestic winemaking. Though technically no grapevines are native to Japan, the Koshu white wine grape has evolved locally over the centuries, and many consider it an indigenous variety. Koshu generally boasts citrus aromas, including grapefruit and lemon, light acidity, and lower alcohol. Other varieties include Muscat Bailey A, a red grape; Merlot; Chardonnay; Cabernet; Kerner; and Sauvignon Blanc.
Yamanashi, a Japanese prefecture, is the country’s largest and most famous wine-producing region – annually producing roughly 40% of the nation’s wine. Though the region sits on the island of Honshu, the wine-producing area is landlocked – surrounded by hills around the Kōfu Basin and some of Japan’s tallest mountains, including famed Mount Fuji. In fact, the mountain often helps shelter the region’s grapevines from the windy, rainy whims of Mother Nature. Yamanashi boasts high average temperatures, and early budbreak, flowering, and vintage. Until the 1960s, small producers here made sweet wines for an unsophisticated market. These days, however, up-and-coming wine varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscat, and Japanese native grape Koshu (notable for its roselike colour).
Toriibira is both a vineyard and a district of the town of Katsunuma in the prefecture of Yamanashi Japan. On the Japanese island of Honshu, it sits about 110 kilometres directly west of Tokyo. High peaks, including Mount Fuji and the Chichibu Mountains, surround the area. Despite its island location, it enjoys a continental climate, with four distinct seasons and a high diurnal range. The Toriibira landscape itself is hilly, with gravelly, well-draining soils and plenty of sun exposure, making it suitable for viticulture and, what’s more, acclaimed for producing the area’s most concentrated grapes. The native grape Koshu – a white variety – is grown here. In the wines, ripe tropical-fruit aromas and full-bodied flavour are representative of the region.
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About the brand Grace Wine
Grace Wine, as Japan’s leading winery, has played a crucial role in the development of the Japanese wine industry.
In 2009, 15 wineries of Yamanashi formed the “Koshu of Japan”(KOJ), and the 4th generation Shigekazu became the chairman. KOJ aims to improve the quality of Koshu, delimit the production region, and acquire an appropriate position in the marketplace. KOJ conducts promotional activities in London, the hub of the world wine market.