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Brian Talley, Vintner
 
February 7, 2014 | Wine | Brian Talley, Vintner

Big In Japan

Johnine and the girls at the main temple building, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto Japan. 

I’m writing this post in the midst of my second ever visit to Japan.  This has been a great trip, made even more special because Johnine and our daughters, Elizabeth and Olivia, were able to join me.  Elizabeth did much pre arrival research and planning and our itinerary has been filled with visits to temples and shrines in Tokyo and Kyoto and a planned visit to Hiroshima.  Having said that, my major focus has been business and I’m proud of the fact that we will likely sell more wine in Japan than all but our largest markets in the US this year.  We have the enthusiastic support of an importer called Jalux who has made a serious commitment to Talley Vineyards.

Food and wine are serious business in Japan and there are more Michelin starred restaurants in this country than in France.  The great wines of the world are prominently featured in wine shops, wine bars and on restaurant wine lists.  A trade tasting and seminar featuring chardonnay and pinot noir from Talley Vineyards, Au Bon Climat and DuMol had amazing attendance and a super engaged audience. Sommeliers and retailers here take their craft seriously, pay special attention during tastings and ask great questions, though the translation slows things down a bit.


 

Kozo and Diana Hasegawa with us at their restaurant, Tableaux.

Wines like ours that are made in a balanced and elegant style are celebrated here because they complement Japanese cuisine, renowned for its refinement and subtlety.  Culinary highlights included Johnine’s birthday dinner at Kurasawa where the chef prepared a tempura tasting menu in a private room for our family as well as a ten course Kaseiki (traditional Japanese tasting menu) dinner at a Michelin 2 star restaurant in Kyoto called Roan Kikuni. I also reconnected with the first person to import our wines into Japan, Kozo Hasegawa, when he hosted a special wine dinner featuring Talley Vineyards and three other wineries, at his famed Tokyo restaurant Tableaux. 

It’s rewarding to see our business grow in a place that cherishes food and wine.  I can’t wait to come back! 

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