Great wines at Hibana, a natural wine bar in Tokyo

Last night I arrived in Tokyo and headed out to Hibana (3F Third Halcyon, 3-6 Araki Cho, Shinyinku-ku, Tokyo 160-0007). It’s a relatively new natural wine bar run by Atsushi Nagashima, who was previously a sommelier at an Italian restaurant. We ate small plates and he served us a succession of Italian wines, all of which were lovely and compelling, and some of which demonstrated that natural wines don’t all have to be drunk young. It’s a small bar and very beautifully styled; certainly not a hipster joint. I really liked it.

Cerruti Rifol Frizzante NV Piedmont, Italy
Moscato from Piedmont, made naturally. Very fresh and complex with apples, spice, salty lemon peel and delicate herbs. Nice spicy, tangy detail. Oxidative but really compelling. Has slightly elevated VA but it works. 93/100

La Castellada Cru Bianca Reserva VRH 2006 Collio, Italy
Deep bronze in colour. 14.5% alcohol. Rich and smooth with seamless pear and peach fruit as well as nuts and spice. Lovely fine grained texture with hints and vanilla and fine spices. Amazing texture here: it’s in a refined, mellow space. 94/100

Giovanni Canonica Barbera d’Alba 2015 Italy
15% alcohol. Very intense with fresh, sweet cherry, raspberry and plum fruit. Very fresh and pure with good acidity. It’s very supple and hides its alcohol very well. Just lovely fruit intensity here with a bright character. Has some floral prettiness too. 94/100

Massa Vecchia Alicante di Maremma Toscana 1999 Italy
Complex, savoury and spicy with citrus peel, herbs and tar, alongside sweet grainy blackberry fruit. Grippy and drying on the finish with lovely savoury maturity. Floral, fine herbs. Lovely elegance. 95/100

Cappellano Piè Rupestris Otin Fiorin 2000 Barolo, Italy
Spicy, tarry and dense with some spice and earth. Grippy and grainy with a savoury balsamic character. Lots of weight here with a grainy richness. Drying finish. A bold wine drinking well now, but also with delicacy. 94/100

Massa Vecchia Aleatico Passito 1999 Maremma, Tuscany, Italy
Very complex, intense and spicy. Seeet and savoury at the same time with some lift and a green-tinged sweet berry fruits personality. Fine, detailed and lively with so much complexity. 95/100

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