Hirotake Ooka – Le Canon Rouge (2015)
- Grape Variety(s): Syrah/Grenache
- Style: Dry Red
- Region: Northern Rhone, France
- Winemaker: Hirotake Ooka
- Soil: Micah/Granite
- Age of Vines: 30 yrs
Hirotake began studying Chemistry and Biology in Japan but decided midway through his studies that he wanted to make wine and left home for oenology school in Bordeaux. While in school he became enamored with the wines of the Northern Rhone and upon graduation approached Theirry Allemand for a position, but none were available. He ended up working with winemaker Jean-Louis Grippat and when Grippat’s vines were acquired by Guigal, Hirotake worked his way up to Chief of Vineyard Management for Hermitage and St. Joseph vines for all of the Grippat and Vallouit estates. At this time he was also spending his weekends working with Allemand, and was becoming more and more convinced that wine should be made without additives. When a position opened in the early 2000’s with Allemand, Hirotake left Guigal and at the same time he purchased a few vines and a winery in the town of St. Peray.
He produced his first vintage in 2001 from vineyards that were not worked at all and that had absolutely no vine treatments, not even ones allowed in organic viticulture. Hirotake prefers to let the vines grown on their own, undisturbed.
His winery is equally magical, with his wine cellar-cave carved into the side of a mountain providing intense humidity. Some barrels even have mushrooms growing on them and Hirotake considers this environment to be an advantage! These natural elements are all part of the terroir of the cellar and an essential part of his wine.
Torre al Tolfe - Chianti Colle al Sensei
- Grape Variety(s): Sangiovese, Canaiolo,
- Style: Dry Red
- Region: Chianti Colli Senesi, Italy (Siena)
- Winemaker: Sergio Lo Jaconco
- Soil: Sand and Clay
- Age of Vines: 8 – 15 yrs
Dating back to 1316, this beautiful little borgo has not only an important place in winemaking history but in the history and development of the region in general, due to its strategic location during the ever-lasting feudal wars between Siena and Florence. Visiting the estate is like stepping back in history, with little changed over the centuries, and with the ancient ‘torre’ still standing proudly over the Villa and other remaining buildings. What has changed is the winemaker, and how the vines are grown. Sergio Lo Jacono took over the winemaking and running of the estate in 2002, and before agreeing and signing a contract with the owners, he insisted that the estate be converted to 100% organic farming. The cellar has also remained the same, except for the fact that the wines are now made with natural yeasts. The cellar is still filled with cement tanks and old botti where the chianti is aged. La Torre Alle Tolfe is a well polished and cared for version of the rustic chianti that we used to know and love. The estate sits within the confines of Chianti Colli Senesi, noted on the 2014 label.