Axel Heinz, Ornellaia winemaker and estate director, reveals his favorite marriage between Ornellaia and Japanese cuisine.

We interview influential people from overseas and ask about Japanese food and ingredients. 

This time we interviewed Mr. Axel Heinz the executive winemaker of Ornellaia, which is one of the most well known Italian wines, also known as a super Tuscan.  It is a very rare opportunity to be able to speak with him since he only visits Japan once every other year.  Having roots in both Germany and France, he enjoys a wide range of foods and ingredients.  Lately he has developed a taste for green tea and likes to drink it with breakfast.

What was your favorite dish during this trip to Japan?

I actually do not get to eat Japanese food as much as I would wish when I stay in Japan since business lunches and dinners normally consist of Italian dishes since we are an Italian wine estate.  Yesterday I had some free time so I had the opportunity to have Japanese cuisine for lunch.  Sashimi was the best!  I like Japanese food since it respects the original flavor of each ingredient.  I love Tuna sashimi and usually eat it, but had white fish yesterday.  It was not fatty, so I think it would go well with Poggio Alle Gazze rather than Ornellaia Bianco.  It is fresher and more crisp.  It is more flexible to match with food and goes really well with raw fish.  For Ornellaia Bianco something richer is better.  

 I also loved the salmon roe marinated in soy sauce with smoky notes.

Name one Japanese ingredient you are interested in.

Turnip and radish. My German side comes out sometimes! I love pickles, so I love Japanese turnip and radish pickles. However, they are difficult to match with wine, so it is rather difficult for me to say I love them.  

It is not an ingredient, but I love sauces like Teriyaki.  After coming to Asia many times, I noticed savory sauces with sweetness go really well with Ornellaia and Le Serre Nuove(second wine).  Cabernet is normally hard to match with this type of sauce, but our cabernet goes well since it is opulent.  Reds in general do not match due to its tannins. Opulence is key.

What would you eat at your last supper?

I would choose chicken for my last supper.  It is like Merlot.  It is a common ingredient, but when the hen is raised properly it becomes great just like Merlot.  Poules de Bresse is famous in France, but I love the chicken from Landes since I am from the South West.  Ornellaia white is a good match with the chicken as well as an aged and silky Ornellaia such as the ’96 vintage. Bourgogne reds are also an excellent choice. 

I like to season chicken simply with fleur de sel of Ile de Re and pepper.  Hard to forget Poules au Pau, too.  

Foie gras is another dish I would like.  If it is warm, it goes well with `09 Ornellaia and if cold, goes well with Ornus which is a sweet wine from Ornellaia with limited production.

更新: 2020年1月14日