One of the joys of Living in Numazu is that they have a Yamazaki Vinos. And one of the joys of the Yamazaki Vinos is the wine tasting.
The Vinos in Numazu is in a sneaky little spot on the basement of the イーラde (Iira-de) department store snuggled into a corner of the Yamazaka grocery store. The cellar-like subdued lighting and sanded pine timbered walls stenciled with the shop name to look as if it had been branded creates an oasis from the surrounding supermarket.
Getting a tasting is simple. Just rock on up to the counter and ask. There is a list of wines on display on the shelves behind the service counter and a plaque showing prices for tastings, glasses and the whole bottle.
The wine list is carefully selected and only the better quality wines make it to the tasting list. Every time I have gone for a tasting there I have always experience quality. However, that quality doesn’t always come with a high price. The selection is expansive. Today’s selection varied from 150-1050 yen for a tasting or 350-2650yen a glass. Of course the more expensive wines are at the top end of the tasting cost and frequently retail for around 10,000yen a bottle and taste like you have just drunk unicorn milk.
From today’s tasting my hands down, pants off favourite was the Havens 2009 Chardonay Oakville from the Nappa Valley. This creamy Chardonnay was rich in vanilla with subtle notes of cinnamon and peach. It combined perfectly with their European cheese platter from their fromagere in Shizuoka. There are a dozen other snacks on the menu to accompany your tasting. The tastings average around 600yen a plate.
The staff know their stuff too. While I was there I noted the staff guiding customers with their recommendations and offering wines in different styles and price ranges to satisfy them. However, I did make the mistake of commenting about one particularly good tasting only to have the wine seller animatedly tell me all about it. This would have been fascinating had I understood a word he had said.
Yamazaki Vinos is not exclusive to Numazu. It is actually part of a high end supermarket business with several chain stores. The prefecture capital, Shizuoka, has two Vinos that I have visited and also is home to the best fromagere I have found in Japan.
Hours (bar) – 11:00-21:00hrs(last order 20:30)
English menu – No sorry but its pretty easy to figure out. Just point and say tasting or glass.