Tokyo is a city where what you see from the street is only a tiny portion of the real city, this is the visible part of the iceberg, even if a nice piece of iceberg... Hidden to the unsuspecting visitor, thousands of bars and restaurants are spread out in the city out of the public eye, in the high rises or in the basements. Roppongi is one of these neighborhoods with a high concentration of bars and night spots. Just think that this neighborhood has something like 30 wine bars...It is often considered as the expat district of choice in Tokyo, but the bar scene is so diverse there that you will easily find (in the immerged-part of the iceberg) authentic venues catering to the Japanese clientèle. The Yol Salon Bar is one of these place, this wine bar opened last year with a mostly Japanese clientèle and an impressive wine list in the brand-new Midtown complex in Roppongi.
A few more things abour Roppongi : it is a hilly part of Tokyo, and while you can reach it by subway, it can also be reached by a pleasant walk from Omotesando. We did it once by an incredibly beautiful evening : It was cold, the snow was falling silently all over the city and the streets were nearly empty, but we had this beautiful view on the Oyama cemetery as we crossed it before climbing the stairs to reach Roppongi, Omotesando is on the left of the Cemetery and Roppongi on the right [aerial view of the street through the cemetery]. The oyama cemetery is one of the most beautiful place in Tokyo to enjoy a cherry blossom viewing party. the cemetery is hilly, with lots of trees and reminds me the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. By the way if you navigate to the left of the aerial picture and enlarge it, you have a nice view of the famous glass-and-steel Prada building in Omotesando (the small square with a red patch inside it). The quality of the aerial pic is excellent and you could almost see the bags through the glass structure when you enlarge at the max... You can also see the Midtown complex on the right of the cemetery but there was still lots of landscaping work around it when the pic was shot.
We had come to drink a glass but she had a surprise for us and proposed to begin with a blind tasting of three white wines. Welcome introduction...
__For the wine on the left, I had thought to a Sauvignon from New Zealand (the nose was very Sauvignon-like), it was actually a Mount Difficulty Pinot Gris 2007 from New Zealand. She aknowledged that the nose was misleading here.
__About the bottle in the middle, we had felt the wooded Chardonnay but couldn't name an origin even if I risked California : not far, it was a Woodward Canyon Chardonnay 2006 from Washington state. Nice wine, with, she says an elevage in French casks with the good drying and toasting ratio.
__The last wine, on the right was a hard guess for me at least : a very aromatic and pleasant wine, with lychee aromas. It was a Jaffurs Viognier 2005, from Santa Barbara County, California (see Alder's Vinography page on the 2003).
But the bar has other much-sought-after drinks : its cocktails plus a very large selection of imported- and domestic whiskies, and Cognacs...