With only 0.9 hectares under vine, I would forgive you if you haven't heard of Domaine Uchida. All that comprises this micro-garagiste estate is 60 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 30 rows of 100+ year vine Merlot. However, the estate is worth your attention for several reasons, not the least of which is that it's located in a particularly bourgeois neighborhood of the Haut-Médoc AOC. Locating the winery is simple. Find your way to Pauillac and make a left at the same intersection you would for Pontet-Canet and Mouton-Rothschild. You'll shortly arrive to what's left of the hamlet of Le Pouyalet, where you'll find the aforementioned prestige châteaux alongside d'Armailhac, Clerc-Milon, and Pedesclaux. Surrounded by vines tended by the titans of the 1855 Classification, you'll also find Domaine Uchida. How did he infiltrate the Bordelaise aristocracy? Take note you future château owners and winemakers! He made friends by joining the local winemaker running club. He has run the Médoc Marathon each year for the last seven years.
Since 2015, Osamu Uchida, born in Hiroshima, has been producing biodynamically farmed grapes in this lofted terroir. For twenty years prior, he traveled France practicing his trade at a plethora of estates across the country from Savoie, Côte-Rôtie, Rivesaltes, and the Loire. His Bordeaux training was under the tutelage of the teams at Chevalier and Poujeaux, two estates whom I adore. Foot-trodden grapes are de-stemmed by hand, fermented at low temperatures with ambient years, and aged without racking in used puncheons or clay amphorae for a year. Afterwards they are bottled without fining or filtering. To my surprise, he earned a lengthy reference in Jane Anson's great tome INSIDE BORDEAUX, the source I used for this entire story as the wines are brand new to the US. She wrote, "...despite following his story for a number of years [and having] only tasted the wines out of barrel...extremely promising, and without a doubt one to follow." As you might have expected with a 2,000 bottle production winery in 2022, this is a la mode et naturale. In typical Japanese fashion, the craftsmanship here is precision-driven and strives for perfection. While the style might not please Bordeaux purists, the fruit is nonetheless purely defined and elegant with a focused, lifted bouquet of funky Bordeaux pyrotechnic aromatics. - Brandon