MAI & KENJI HODGSON (ANJOU, LOIRE)
The story of Japanese-Canadians Mai and Kenji Hodgson making the jump from Vancouver to the Loire Valley is as unexpected and delightful as their natural wines. Kenji was a wine journalist in Vancouver when he met Mai, his wife to be. His journalistic ambitions soon turned into a desire to make wine, and he followed his convictions after seizing an opportunity to intern at a winery in Japan. After being exposed to natural wines which have a large following, and are widely exported to Japan, Kenji found his calling, and France was the next obvious step. Meeting winemakers like Claude Courtois (Sologne) and Olivier Cousin (Anjou) was an informative and profound experience. A harvest with Marc Angeli (Anjou) followed and he soon discovered through this hands on experience that there was an alternate approach to winemaking that existed, one which contradicted all his previous learnings. Barely able to speak any French, their adventures took a new direction, and they soon purchased their first hectare in early 2010. With persistence, help, a bit of natural talent, and three years later, they produced their first wines under their own label.
One need not wait a decade to feel the magic of Mai and Kenji’s wines, a connection can be felt instantaneously. With a level of purity and precision achieved so early on in their career, it is hard not to be impressed. Their wines exude a delicacy and honesty that I often associate with some prominent winemakers from the Jura. A couple to look out for. For those not familiar with their wines, all I can say is you are a few bottles away from missing the boat -DM
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