This must be a sign. While researching grape cultivars that would do well in Japan, I stumbled across this article -- published just yesterday.
Japanese Wine: Unadulterated and Ready to Go Abroad - The Japan Times
The long and short of it is that after years of being undrinkable swill, Japanese wines are now making ripples across the global wine industry. Most are made for pairing with sushi: one that has made it overseas is featured in a Michelin starred Japanese restaurant in London.
There are a few cultivars that are well suited to our climate -- Koshu for white wine and Muscat Bailey-A for red. There are some vineyards that grow European grapes as well (Merlot, Sauvignon), but I think only a few microclimates in Japan would suit these grapes, which like long, dry and hot summers to ripen.
Then there is this Robert Parker write up, which basically says Japanese wines are undrinkable for the most part. The only redeeming varietal seems to be the Koshu, which apparently makes delicious, light whites suited for the delicacy of sashimi and sushi.
Well, which is it? The good news is that Cave de Relax, which is featured in the Japan Times article as the go-to place for Japanese wine (150+ labels), is only 15 minutes away. I suppose my Sunday brunch will be a long and liquid one.
Picture: Katsunuma Winery