2019 Ochota Barrels, Grenache “The Green Room” Mclaren Vale, South Australia.
The beautiful Ochota Barrels old vine “The Green Room” Grenache Noir comes from classic bush vines planted back in 1946 on a combination of schist and limestone in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia and was lovingly hand crafted using lessons learned over twenty years and inspired by small biodynamic wines in southern France with native yeasts, whole bunches and ultra low sulfur to allow the grapes to express themselves in their most natural and pure form. Taras and Amber Ochota’s Ochota Barrels wines go against the our perceptions of Aussie wines, they are not inky dark and or overtly fruity and rightly so have generated a buzz beyond their border and have gained notoriety throughout the wine world. Sourced from organically farmed vineyards, Taras Ochota, who has made wines around the world, makes an interesting array of wines from Gewurztraminer to Pinot Noir, as well as a Gamay and Grenache, like this one. This “The Green Room” reminds me of some of the really good stuff coming from the Sierra de Gredos (A hot spot for Grenache/Garnacha in the mountains above Madrid, in Spain) with a fine balance and an array of pretty red fruits including dusty raspberry, strawberry, pomegranate, plum and morello cherry along with spicy accents with a hint of earth and mineral too. This wine drinks brightly and smoothly, very much like a Pinot Noir, especially with its low 12.7% natural alcohol, satiny in mouth and it opens to reveal some floral details, savory notes and a touch of licorice.
The Ochota Barrels began, according to legend, on a surf trip, in late 2000 when the world traveling couple were trekking along the west coast of Mexico n a Volkswagen fried-out Kombi (camper van), yes, like The Men at Work song, as they thought about what was next in their adventures. Baja and left coast Mexico were their final destination after traveling to some of the world’s most amazing wine and surf regions. At that point Taras and Amber Ochota hatched a plan to make what they hoped would be beautiful holistic wines back home in South Australia. After, what Taras calls, a mis-spent youth playing a Rickenbacker bass in various punk bands, noting he played on Kranktus’ Heckler album, Taras became an Oenology graduate from Adelaide University one of the most prestigious wine schools in the world. Ochota developed his craft with stints at vineyards and wineries around the world including Italy, working all around the boot, as well as on Sicily, France and here in California, where he worked at Kunin, Bonnacorsi, Arcadian, Schrader, Outpost and Hitching Post. Taras and Amber have now made home on tiny and steep sloped patch of land deep in the Basket Range of the beautiful Adelaide Hills wine region, where they farm and make some of the most intriguing Australian offerings of their generation. I can’t wait to try more of these wines and learn more about Australia’s new generation of small wineries, after enjoying this fun and tasty Ochota Barrels offering, it looks like there’s a lot to discover!
($39 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive