Wine importers keep their cool

| Mar 12, 2010

Wine importers keep their cool

A few years ago, I enjoyed a chilled glass of wine while sitting on a cobbled street in the medieval French city of Chinon in the heart of Loire Valley; the wine was from the surrounding vineyards of Samur and tasted absolutely divine. When ...

Fine wines from a complex region

| Feb 12, 2010

Fine wines from a complex region

According to the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, great thinkers can be separated into two broad categories: hedgehogs and foxes. While hedgehogs view the world through one single defining idea, foxes embrace the multitude of contradictory experiences that life throws up. It’s no stretch to place ...

Chicken Head Maker

Feb 12, 2010

Chicken Head Maker

Many bands dream of combining various musical styles to create a completely new sound, only to discover that it’s a bit like trying to make bechamel sauce; if you’re not careful the creamy concoction you dreamed of will curdle into an evil-looking slop. Chicken ...

The Aprils 'Back To The Future Music'

Jan 22, 2010

The Aprils "Back To The Future Music"

The Aprils have sold their innocent indie souls to the god of electro pop with their latest album seeing the entire outfit digitized. Even Miho Iguchi’s vocals have morphed from sweet and silly to a more sleek synthesized sound. Though part of me was ...

Reinventing the classics

| Jan 15, 2010

Reinventing the classics

“In Italy I already had a job and family. If I had come to Japan and everything finished, I could have easily gone back to Italy because I had a place there. Coming here was a bit like a game and it still is ...

Make merry with top festive wines

| Dec 11, 2009

Make merry with top festive wines

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the season to be jolly. If you aren’t yet decking the halls with sprigs of holly here’s just the thing to get you in the spirit: a Christmas wine guide, which will take you from pre-Christmas party to ...

An early start for Japanese wines

| Nov 13, 2009

An early start for Japanese wines

“Please don’t drink too much,” screeches a man wielding a megaphone, but he’s a bit too late because half the genteel crowd are already totally hammered. It’s not surprising, really, seeing as there are around 70 wines to sample and there’s not a single ...

Introducing the Californian dream

| Oct 9, 2009

Introducing the Californian dream

Swilling an elegant Pinot around your glass, the landscape before you, verdant with vines, undulates in the soft evening light. The little wine you’ve imbibed sets your senses aglow as you contemplate the cinematic beauty of California’s wine country. With the release of the ...

Nomiya shelves Barbie image

Sep 18, 2009

Nomiya shelves Barbie image

Elegance is not just having your clothes and personal grooming just so,” says Maki Nomiya. “It’s also doing even mundane things, like eating, with grace.” I’m here at the fashionable offices of Nomiya’s agent in Harajuku to talk to the singer ahead of her ...

It's as good as it says on the bottle

| Sep 11, 2009

It's as good as it says on the bottle

Wine shops bear more than a passing resemblance to libraries. The hushed respectful tone of the staff, the way the wines are displayed on floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves with the rarest bottles set high up and only accessible by ladder. And like the covers of ...