Nishijin gourmet renaissance

Seems a slight change in the scene in Nishijin a little machi west of the centre of Fukuoka well known for its plethora of cheap eats primarily feeding the students who live by the Seinan University. Apart from the longtime standout as a cafe with a some actual style and real espressos, not to mention a classic Thai green curry lunch set – the Australian Beans Cafe has been great.

There seems to be a small renaissance on the way however with a few places springing up in the last year or so. The most recent favourite of mine being a little good food and wine bar – bar SOL. Great little bar with enough wines by the glass to choose from to set you up for the evening and Heartland on tap to quench a summer thirst. The husband and wife duo put out some great tapas to go with.

Other recent additions to the Nishijin restaurant scene include the Fukuoka kings of Mexican La Borracha with their ‘Charcoal’ themed restaurant. Another growing chain chain in Korean food and K-pop atmosphere is Apuro, setting up not far from the new Tsutaya.

Another I can only comment from looking on – each time I pass there seems to be a full house of happy curry eaters – is the little curry bar on the river called Turmeric. They also serve up the Heartland with their bowls so am looking forward to getting a seat at the counter.


Sauv Blanc Ginza

Sitting outside G, a bar-restaurant located in Ginza Walk in the extremely warm mid-summer evening temperatures that we are experiencing here in Japan right now was perfectly matched with the Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc that was being sipped last night. I’ve read that some think the Sauvignon Blanc is not a complex white variety and it’s boom days are deservedly over but I will continue to love the citrus notes and crispness of any New Zealand Sauv Blanc, especially in summer.

warm weather whites (2)

Yes. Came across another lovely reasonably priced white, this time down at Bon Repas, the upmarket supermarket in my area. This time a Pinot Grigio, the Italian name for the French grape Pinot Gris, commonly grown in the Alsace region.

This is a great little number and I can fully appreciate the recent boom in this varietal. In Australia it has possibly just gone past its popularity as the ‘it’ wine, with people in the industry now talking of the comeback of the Chardonnay.

Enjoyed this Pinot Grigio from the Venezie Region, though. Cute label, too.

Primaterra Pinot Grigio 2009

producer: Primaterra
varietal: Pinot Grigio
region: Delle Venezie
found at: Bon Repas, Momochi

warm weather whites

That time of year. The temperature warms up and my nose heads towards the grassy, citrus tones of Sauvignon Blanc. In particular, the famous region of Marlborough, New Zealand.

Here’s what I’ve just stocked up on for warm, humid, wet season evenings…

Tinpot Hut Sauvignon Blanc 2010

producer: Tinpot Hut
varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
region: Marlborough, New Zealand
found at: Liquor Shop Gulliver Nishijin – Tinpot Hut Sauvignon Blanc 2010

my first merlot with Miles


Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue ゆっくりワインを飲みながら
Kind of Blueを聞くのおすすめします

I believe the first wine I ever truly appreciated the taste for was a Merlot. It was probably around the winter of 1994 when a dear friend introduced me to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album (of which I’m listening to as I write). We sat close to the heater on that cold winter night, sipping on a bottle of Merlot, of which now the name escapes me. The wine so suited the occasion and I immediately became a lover of red wine.

Merlot being a soft, fruity low-tannin red varietal, is often used to blend with the more full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz varieties to soften them. If you’re just starting to drink wine, try Merlot. Try to distinguish some of the different rich, fruity flavours it holds – cherries, blackberries, blueberries, plum and so on. You may find words such as chocolate, coffee beans, caramel, herbs, pepper or others can be used to describe the wine. It’s a great wine to bring to a meal if your friends aren’t so knowledgeable about wine – as usually anyone can enjoy the fruitiness without being scared away from a more full-bodied wine.

私が今まで本当に気にいったのは、メルローだった。おそらく1994年の冬頃、友人がMiles Davisの「Kind of Blue」のアルバムを紹介してくれて、寒いからヒーターのそばに座って、名前を覚えてないメルローをゆっくり飲みました。雰囲気にそのワインが合っていて、すぐに赤ワインを好きになりました。

柔らかく、フルーティーで、タンニンが少ない赤ぶどう種、メルローは、多くの場合、フルボディのカベルネソーヴィニヨン、シラーズ品種と、それらをよりなめらかにするために、ブレンドされます。もしワインを飲み始めるならメルローをお試しください。メルローが持ってるチェリー、ブラックベリー、ブルーベリー、梅などの 違った凝縮感や果実味を感じてみてください。保持している別の豊富な、フルーティーな風味のいくつかを区別してみてください。ワインを表現するのにチョコレート、コーヒー豆、キャラメル、ハーブ、ペッパーなどの言葉が浮かんでくると思います。ホームパーティに行くのに、もし友人がワインに詳しくなければ、フルボディのワインが苦手な人でも、誰でもメルローのフルーティーさが楽しめる素晴らしいワインです。

Merlot - soft, rich and fruity

Merlot - soft, rich and fruity

Some facts about Merlot:
Merlot is a primary grape used in most Bordeaux wines, together with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot
It is believed the name Merlot was taken from an old French word for a young blackbird: merle – either from the deep colour of the grape, or from blackbirds love of the fruit.

The earliest mention of the name Merlot was in 1784 in Bordeaux when an official wrote it when talking about the grape

Most of the world’s Merlot is grown in France, but it is also grown in Italy, the US, Australia, Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and other countries. Grown in the cooler areas where Cabernet Sauvignon is grown

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