Azabu Gardens Journal

End of Summer BBQ and Wine Tasting Lecture

Despite rain, it was another amazing day of wine, food, and family fun

By Simon Farrell

Even pouring rain couldn’t stop about 70 guests eagerly flocking to the autumn afternoon barbecue and wine tasting presented by Azabu Gardens for residents and visitors.


As dark clouds hovered above, the much-anticipated event was quickly and easily relocated by the friendly caterers from the popular Rooftop Terrace to the cozy and modern basement Club Lounge with adjacent gourmet kitchen and multi-functional entertainment space, well before the noon start time.

Families and others began to arrive as the first of two special 30-minute lectures on wine kicked off, attended by three resident couples and two other amateur wine lovers eager to learn how to appreciate and match wine with Japanese food.


As their children played on the sofas and carpet—safely monitored by trained staff—well-known wine expert, judge, writer and consultant Mami Whelehan eloquently presented an interesting and useful lecture, entitled: “Premium Wine for Japanese Autumn Delicacies—Secrets for Wine Pairing.”

With a focus on acidity, sweetness, and tannin—while encouraging participants to carefully swirl, sniff, and sip—Mami explained why seasonal avocado & Japanese citrus fruit, mushroom, and eel are practical and perfect matches for Huarpe Taymente Torrontés (Argentina, 2016), Cuvée Daniel Spätburgunder (Germany, 2011), and Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Barberini (France, 2010), respectively.


She introduced herself by saying: “If you’re thinking of hosting a dinner party, this is how to show your guests which wine to drink, as well as how and why.”

To show the remarkable effects of decanting, Mami also presented a fragrant 2010 Château Tour Haut Caussan in two different Eisch glasses for a comparative tasting.

Guests at the barbecue next door, meanwhile, could choose from a crisp Champagne or creamy white Chardonnay and fruity red Cabernet Franc, both from Beaucanon Estate in Napa Valley.


The generous buffet table was almost bending with a mouth-watering array of such delights as sausages-on-a-stick, healthy salads and fruits, stuffed mushrooms, creamy cheese pasta, smooth humus and, naturally, desserts to die for: crumbly chocolate brownies, thick cheesecake with caramel sauce, and fresh waffles with fruity jam.

While adults mingled and relaxed, children romped on the oversized loungers, explored the wigwam, or played the popular table soccer—a perfect family day. My 2-year-old boy Kai simply spaced out on floor cushions in front of the massive television showing his favorite crazy cartoons.


I eventually looked at the clock and I was stunned that I had spent nearly four hours enjoying the fine wine, tasty food, and diverse entertainment at another amazing Azabu Gardens gathering.

Time certainly flies when you are having fun!