by Treve Ring | The 2014 Green Room Grenache Syrah from Australia’s Ochota Barrels is a game changer ($37, +957019). That is, if you are of the camp that bemoans Australian wine as slutty, sweet, fruit bombed or impersonal. As Taras Ochota tells it, the winery’s “tale began on a surf trip, late 2000 along the Mexican west coast in a Volkswagen campervan.” See? Kinfolk already.
It was after this journey that Taras and Amber Ochota came up with the idea to make super premium, authentic wines back home in South Australia. And if you’re still not convinced, imagine organic, old, ungrafted bush vine grenache through whole-cluster fermentation with wild yeast and 82 days on skins via a surfing musician living in the cool climate Adelaide Hills. G’Day!
Ochota Barrels’ aim is to express old vine, single vineyard sites in the cool Adelaide Hills, as naturally as possible. Here, fragrant wild strawberry, raspberry, violets and forest aromas reflect the 88/13 grenache/syrah Rhone-styled blend. Eighty year old grenache is whole bunch pressed and spends ample time on the skins, lending a complexity and phenolic texture that surprises with its depth. Fine through ample white and black peppery coexist in harmony, and season the wild berry, summer cherry, earthy forest palate. Acidity is nimble and juicy, mellow tannins throw a light rasp and a dusky five spice closes the lengthy, textural finish. Alcohol is a welcome 12.8 percent.
Winemaker Taras Ochota is one of the cutting edge talented nonconformists of the Australian wine industry, and we need to see more Aussie wines like this on our shelves. Oh, and he loves cats (as evidenced by the stamp he’s snuck onto his corks)…
Tried it at VIWF – thought it was good but certainly not a “game changer” – I much preferred the Crudo Syrah from Luke Lambert (Yarra Valley) – that, to me, was more of a game changer.