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Featured Producer: Osamu Uchida is back, baby!

Osamu Uchida smiles with a tank of soy sauce
The photo at left is Osamu showing off his soy sauce. The barrels once belonged to Mouton-Rothschild, which used to be his next-door-neighbor.

Yes, "used to" – Osamu moved into a bigger winery, though it is still just a garage. 

Here are some notes from my recent visit:

In '21, frost definitely affected quantity. We have 'Miracle' (Cab Sauv) to offer, but no 'Melodie' (Merlot) or Pheremone (Sans-soufre blend) '21. There is some '22 of the latter, though.

Still the quality of the '21 'Miracle' is really, really good. More open than the '20, more delicate than the '19, it's nonetheless impressive how consistent this wine is, which remains fresher and lower in alcohol (12% in '21, as I recall) than any other Médoc wine I know of.

Much of the delicate style comes from the terroir: Osamu's vines lie in the sandy, forested part of the inner Médoc. While close to AOC Pauillac, it's a vastly different (and far less appreciated) type of climate and terrain.

I asked him if he thought about trying to acquire vines from the Médoc's famous gravel slopes, closer to the banks of the Gironde. This is where all the classified growths are. His response was that he actually doesn't envy those terroirs in this era of global warming.

Uchida now makes a white wine, which is rich (2022 was a warm year) and cloudy, but also balanced and clean. Peachy. It's a blend of Sauvignon Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. Very limited!

Actually, everything we tasted there was super-clean and pure. This is amazing, because the wines are natural. Some see a nominal bit of sulfur (1mg/L), while others are totally sans-soufre.

Quantities are very limited. What we have the most of is the excellent 2021 'Miracle'. There's some Pheremone Rouge '22, while Pheremone Blanc '22 is sold out.

You can order these wines here. This pricing is website-only, and orders are first-come, first-served.

Osamu Uchida, Vdf Rouge Pheremone, 2022 $62.99 $55.99
Juicy blend of Cabernet and Merlot. Probably the most obviously ‘natural’ tasting wine in the lineup, but still clean. From a vintage that produce concentrated, textured wines.

Osamu Uchida, Haut-Medoc 'Miracle', 2021 $74.99 $63.99
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from .6 ha. 12% alcohol. Super pretty and very floral. Notes of cassis and violets. Less structure and rigor here than the ‘20 so no need to wait.

More about Uchida..

He grew up in Hiroshima, Japan, where his parents owned a wine shop and his grandfather grew rice.

Determined to be a winemaker, Osamu moved to Bordeaux in 1999 to study viticulture and oenology for a few years before working at various places, including Clusel-Roch in Côte-Rotie.

After a few years, Osamu moved back to Japan to save money so he could return to France to make his own wine. Friends advised him to choose any region but Bordeaux. Osamu chose Bordeaux, settling about 150 yards from Mouton Rothschild.

Uchida biodynamically farms micro-plots of vines just inland from Pauillac, in Cissac-Médoc. Here, sandy soils and surrounding forest produce wines in a relatively light and fresh style.

Though the wines fit the natural winemaker mold, they're are not so removed from Bordeaux classicism, and I think they’ll be great for aging mid-term (5–12+ years from vintage). Annual wine production is just a few hundred cases!