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Melanie Campbell-Drane
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Nov 17, 2002
A guide in wine is a friend indeed
It's a story we've heard dozens of times before, in slightly varying versions. An acquaintance who does much corporate entertaining decided to treat a few office-mates to a late meal in Daikanyama. After an under-10,000 yen bottle of red, the sommelier suggested that they might like an unlisted Shafer...
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Nov 3, 2002
How a winery's rep can become tainted
One of the hottest stories sweeping the California wine industry focuses on "sick cellar syndrome," a subject of dread to all winemakers. Wine Spectator magazine recently revealed that Napa Valley stalwart Beaulieu Vineyard suffers from a systemic taint problem, which could lead to musty, moldy flavors...
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Oct 20, 2002
Leeuwin Estate delivers a perfect hat trick
Wine lovers in Japan may have noticed the recent appearance of several new labels from Australia's Leeuwin Estate. Collectors have long coveted Leeuwin's Art Series wines. But these collectible, top-tier Leeuwin wines require cellar-aging to realize their potential and they bear a stiff cost commensurate...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Oct 6, 2002
Take time for a journey of the senses
Imagine a break in the day where the hustle and bustle of life is put aside, and your total attention is given over to the senses and the discovery of new wines and unexpected, heartening bargains. Tasting and evaluating wine is a challenge, one that requires endurance, focus and discipline, but it can...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Sep 22, 2002
Recession? What recession?
For many, the mere thought of Champagne is enough to make the pulse race and the tongue tingle. Josephine de Beauharnais, the wife of Napoleon and Empress of France 1796-99, once remarked that "making love without a bottle of Champagne alongside my bed is merely silly." For those looking to indulge in...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Sep 8, 2002
A rose by any other name
One of life's great pleasures is drinking a wine that is exactly right for that particular moment. As summer slowly winds to a close, many of us are in pursuit of one last weekend picnic or open-air meal on the balcony. Chilled soups, chicken, pasta and salads are naturals, but what to drink? Although...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Aug 11, 2002
Really making a meal of it in Austria
Second of two parts One of the most heady delights for any wine lover is a visit to a vineyard. Hike or bicycle through the countryside, then sip wine and unpack a picnic near lush, green rows of vines. In the warm afternoon, tromp down into the winery's cool, dark cellar that smells of damp earth and...
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Jul 28, 2002
A taste of the renaissance
Wine lovers in Tokyo are no longer far removed from the international wine scene. We have access to great wine shops and restaurants with well-chosen wines in every price category. And as we've investigated in the last few columns, bottles of wine now turn up even in formerly unthinkable locations, such...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Jul 14, 2002
Uncorking female potential
In Japan's otherwise troubled economy, women's buying power has been often cited as the force behind a stunning phenomenon of growth in the '90s -- the wine industry. In fact, during that time, Japanese women not only drove the rise in wine consumption, but they also found professional opportunities...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Jun 30, 2002
Matches made in Tokyo
From California-style cafes to French bistros, international restaurants in Tokyo possess world-class wine lists. But if consumers' experience of wine is limited to their forays into international gourmet dining, it will remain an exotic, special-occasion beverage. To establish a comfortable home for...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Jun 16, 2002
Refined wining and dining without pretension
Japan's trendy wine boom ended a few years ago. Still, interest in wine did not plummet; instead, it normalized. In groceries stores, elderly ladies and hip twentysomethings alike scrutinize the wine shelves. At many Tokyo izakaya pubs, diners can opt for a glass of house wine with their sashimi, odenor...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Jun 2, 2002
Snobbery will not be permitted
Once upon a time, wine in Japan was a hushed affair, conducted with starched linens and stiff-backed chairs. Elusive first-growth Bordeaux and top Burgundy accompanied the tense, dutiful rituals of business negotiations. The mood was earnest; the cost high. It sometimes seemed as if the highly codified...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
May 19, 2002
Where the adventure begins
Wine complements all sorts of moods. At times, it is convivial. We share a bottle around the table, and our group of friends become merrier, the conversation seasoned with laughter. Yet wine can also nourish quiet contemplation. Sip a glass alone or with one other person (a beloved, perhaps), and then...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
May 5, 2002
Vineyards of New World beckon in warm weather
Only a decade ago, adventure and good value were tough to find in Japan's wine market. Wine lovers traded news of secret finds. We carried treasured bottles back from trips overseas. We called up buddies and huddled together to relish the long-saved treat of a wine unavailable in Japan. The rituals bore...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Apr 21, 2002
Keep on the grass and don't forget the wine
During the red wine boom of the 1990s, wine-crazed folks in Japan glugged trendy, robust red wines all year round. Even in the midst of muggy summers, restaurant patrons could be seen stoically sipping Cabernet Sauvignon, thick and tannic as espresso. Few wine drinkers wished to be mistaken for frivolous...
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Apr 7, 2002
Think wild and feisty, think Sauvignon Blanc
In these budget-conscious times, it pays to be a wine nerd. When you sense a hot trend, run in the other direction. Dare to be contrary. The world's greatest wine bargains come from places and grape varieties that are temporarily out of fashion or simply overlooked.
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Mar 24, 2002
Let your taste buds do the browsing
At some point, it happens to all of us. You stand in front of the wine shelves and stare at the labels. You struggle to remember the last great vintage in the Rhone Valley, Rioja or Tuscany. You see the name of a winery you've liked in the past, but can't recall if it was the Syrah or the Zinfandel (it...
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Mar 10, 2002
A few blooming good wines
The month of March moves us toward spring and the brilliant profusion of cherry trees in bloom. During the gray, damp days on the late edge of winter, we daydream of hanami parties. In Tokyo, we'll play a guitar on a blanket in Inokashira Park, eat sushi rolls under the tunnel of blossoms in Aoyama Cemetery,...
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Feb 24, 2002
Voyagers on the new wine frontier
There was a time when food-and-wine pairing was governed by tried-and-true rules and traditions. French restaurants served French wines, Italian restaurants were loyal to Italian wines, and so on.
LIFE / Food & Drink / VINELAND
Feb 10, 2002
Uncork a bottle of pure passion
This Valentine's Day, ignore the boxes of waxy, stale chocolate at the supermarket. Give up on forcing rhymes into a bad love poem. Never mind the refrigerated roses from the florist, their heads already on the verge of drooping.

Longform

Traditional folk rituals like Mizudome-no-mai (dance to stop the rain) provide a sense of agency to a population that feels largely powerless in the face of the climate crisis.
As climate extremes intensify, Japan embraces ancient weather rituals