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A Wine Shoppe Find! Australian Cult Wines by Ochota Barrels

24 Feb A Wine Shoppe Find! Australian Cult Wines by Ochota Barrels

The Ochota Barrels tale began on a surf trip, late 2000 along the Mexican west coast in a Volkswagen campervan. A final destination after traveling some of the world’s best wine and surf regions, Taras and Amber Ochota conceived the idea to make super premium wines back home in South Australia. The concept was to concentrate on the zenith variety of McLaren Vale (Grenache) and the Barossa Valley (Shiraz), find an exceptional old vineyard site in each region and create plush, small batch, single vineyard wines.  In the years since, Ochota’s wines have reached cult status in many circles.  We have been lucky enough to score three of his best efforts!!!

2013 A Sense of Compression Grenache- $89.99

It was a love of music that brought wunderkind winemaker Taras Ochota into the orbit of music-fanatic and President of Vine Street Imports, Ronnie Sanders, who saw his wine named after the punk band Fugazi. “I had to meet this guy. It was so wild to see this on a bottle,” Sanders says. A trip to the US ensued. Sanders, a friend of Maynard Keenan from the rock group Tool, suggested visiting Caduceus, Keenan’s winery and vineyards in Arizona. Ochota did, and a friendship was struck that was the catalyst for this intriguing new release wine, the 2013 Ochota Barrels A Sense of Compression.

The idea of Compression was discussed over a number of glasses of wine, and it worked hand-in-hand with the relaxed, experimental, freed-up winemaking that would result. “I want all the wines I make to have a tightness; a coiled nature; a sense of compression. In terms of music styles, compression probably relates to an idea of density of sound. In wine, it’s about picking a bit earlier, spending some more time on skins, and getting density but with lightness. The mid-palate holds the compression, it pulls everything together,” explains Ochota.

Keenan came to Australia in 2013 with his other band, Puscifer. Ochota picked him up from the airport and they got straight into winemaking ideas. According to Ochota, Keenan suggested co-fermenting grenache with another variety. So they applied the mantra of the late Sam Hughes from Natural Selection Theory “you can improve anything with Gewürztraminer.” Keenan returned on another tour in 2013 with Tool and joined Ochota at his family home in the Adelaide Hills for a spot of winemaking. Fruit was picked, grapes were handled, two per cent gewürztraminer went into the mix, the wine spent a long time going through the magic of carbonic maceration, and was born on 1 March 2014.

Bright red. Deeply pitched raspberry liqueur and floral pastille aromas are lifted and sharpened by a suggestion of blood orange. Offers palate-staining red fruit flavors and a seamless texture, with a hint of peppery spices adding bite. Closes sweet, expansive and extremely long, with echoing spiciness and smooth, slow-building tannins.
Total Production: Only 76 Cases and we got one them!

2014 Shellac Vineyard Syrah – $76.99
Named for an obscure hardcore punk band, is located two tractor widths from Torbreck’s famed ‘ Descendant’ block to the east and Greenock Creek’s block to the west on Roennfeldt Road.  The ironstone in the vineyard’s deep red soil, whole bunch fermentation, and ‘extended time on skins’ contribute to the immediate density with a mineral like textured entry, creating the wine’s foundation.  This wine has a vibrant medium-depth purple color and equally vibrant nose of red and black cherries, crushed black raspberries, mulberries and roses with hints of yeast extract, pepper, cinnamon stick and dusty earth.  Medium-bodied and almost Pinot-like in it elegance if not flavor, it fills the palate with spiced cherry compote flavors supported by fine-grained tannins, finishing with great length and lift.

2018 The Green Room – $41.99
The term ‘The Green Room’ refers to a performer (or wine in this case) that is not quite ready for the big stage.  While this offering may not be the most well-known of Taras’ wines, it will soon see its time on stage.  It is made in a very approachable and slurpable!  A wine that pleases the other senses as much as the palate.  82% Grenache and 18% Syrah, handpicked early the morning from a single site in the western reaches of the Vale.  Bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal SO2.  Hyped up perfume. Rose water, lipstick, red currants, black pepper, violets.  Wow. Makes you want to dive in. Whips through the palate with crunchy, dry fruitiness.  Really even, super vibrant, juicy to the max. Big gulps.  Sunshiney summery red wine of the highest order.
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