Wednesday, April 11, 2012

THE WINE LINE

Irpinia has played such an important role in Campanian wine production that the rail line linking Avellino and Rocchetta Sant'Antonio was known as "the Wine Line." Completely planted in vines, the province of Avellino features products of international reputation, such as Greco di Tufo, Taurasi and Fiano.
The Fiano di Avellino takes its name from the variety that the Latins called Vitis Apiana. That was because the vine's grapes were so sweet that they proved irresistible to bees ("api").The wine, which was already highly appreciated in the Middle Ages, originated several millennia ago. An order for three "salme" (a measure) of Fiano is entered in the register of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. And Charles d'Anjou must have enjoyed the wine, since he had 16,000 Fiano vines planted in the royal vineyards. The grapes' sugar content is so high that a virtually sweet sparkling wine is made in the area that has many local admirers, although it has not been possible to market it nationally and internationally.
Years of experiment have enabled winemakers to produce a dry Fiano, a wine of great elegance and refinement with an intense odor and a harmonious flavor that features scents of toasted hazelnuts. Perfect as an aperitif, the wine also makes a fine accompaniment for refined dishes based on seafood.

Monday, April 2, 2012

REWARDS OF THE GODDESS

Films produced by Fuji TV — one of Japan's five national TV networks — have regularly hit the top of the box-office charts in the past decade. Now, Fuji TV is celebrating its 50th anniversary with another film starring Oda and with executive producer Chihiro Kameyama at the helm. Titled "Amalfi: Megami no Hoshu" ("Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess") and directed by TV drama veteran Hiroshi Nishitani, this big-budget thriller is not, like most networked-produced films, based on a popular TV show, best-selling manga or other pretested property. But it does include many elements of Kameyama's past successes, while lacking those that Hollywood considers de rigueur.
First of all, it is set in a location that, like Odaiba, spells "cool" for the target young audience: Italy. And just as the "Odoru" films featured the Rainbow Bridge and other Tokyo landmarks, the action of "Amalfi" unfolds against a backdrop of famous tourist sites: the Coliseum, the Forum, the Spanish Steps and, of course, the magnificently rocky Amalfi Coast — all photographed by cinematographer Hideo Yamamoto with a golden romantic glow. "Amalfi," in fact, was shot in entirely in Bella Italia — a first for a Japanese film.