Friday, June 21, 2013

About As Natural As It Gets

We've long been drawn to the rustic elegance of the wines of the Northern Rhone. Hirotake Ooka is a Japanese winemaker working in the Northern Rhone who understands tradition but is making wines that transcend it. It seems as if he was born to make the wine he does. Wines that are pure, raw, and alive. He was quickly identified as a rising star in the natural wine world and was recently profiled in The New York Times. The wines he makes are about as natural as it gets.

Hirotake has taken a remarkable journey from Tokyo to St. Péray. He left Japan to study enology in Bordeaux because initially he was intrigued by Bordeaux wines. However while there his world was turned upside down when he tasted the brilliant wines of Thierry Allemand of Cornas and realized that he had to go to the Northern Rhone and work with him, which he did as soon as he could.  Now he has chosen to work the steepest, hardest-to-work slopes. Ooka, which ironically means big hill in Japanese, then named his winery Le Grand Colline (big hill in French). 

He makes very limited amounts of a few wines, most of which he exports to Japan or delivers to a few Parisian natural wine bars. We, however, have secured a small quantity of his two most approachable wines, Le Canon rosé and red, which have just arrived. These in fact are the ones that are the best way to get introduced to what he does. Enjoy them on a Brooklyn summer's day or night.

Get them while you can! The 2012 Le Canon rosé is made from a nearly forgotten red version of Muscat called Muscat de Hambourg. It's delightfully tart with pink grapefruit flavors. His 2012 Le Canon red is a seriously gluggable Syrah with dark plum and sour cherry notes. 

Order a sixpack for $97.20 plus tax (10% off!).

Chill your reds.


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