Tsunagu - Wine & Spirits Magazine


Tsunagu is a wine bar that sells only Japanese wine, which is unusual because Japanese wine traditionally hasn’t been very good. You might feel trepidation if owner Satoko Tamura produces a sake-sized screw-capped bottle and pours the wine into an opaque Japanese-style teacup, rather than a glass. But trust him: That wine—Asaya Koshu 2016—is unfi ltered and slightly cloudy, with an apple character reminiscent of viognier. Tamura looks hard for Japan’s best bottles; for instance, red wine isn’t normally Japan’s strength, thanks to a month-long rainy season in summer, but Tamura taps Hokkaido, the northernmost and chilliest island, where summer is drier, for bottles such as Hokkaido Wine Zweigelt 2015, a peppery, lively red at just 11.5 percent alcohol. It’s nearly impossible to find outside of Tsunagu, which opened in May with a short menu of bar food, like cracker-thin pizza with shirasu fish and wasabi nori.

2-9-1 Hamamatsucho, Takahashi 3rd Building B1, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Wine Bar

W. Blake Gray lived in Tokyo for eight years before moving to San Francisco, where he became an award-winning wine and spirits journalist. He is the US Editor for Wine Searcher and runs the Gray Report blog. He still travels to Tokyo frequently to drink and eat and drink.

This story appears in the print issue of April 2018.
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