Taras Ochota may be one of the coolest guys in wine. After a ‘mis-spent youth playing a rikkenbakker bass in various punk bands’, he completed a winemaking degree at Adelaide University. After graduation,Taras worked for several brands around the world, before becoming a ‘Flying Winemaker Consultant’ for Swedish import company Oenoforos. During his time at Oenoforos he produced wine in the Italian regions of Puglia, Abruzzo and Sicily. His brand, Ochota Barrels, was conceived during a surfing trip to Mexico in 2008, and, having had enough of making megalitre batches of blended wine, Taras and wife Amber headed back home to the Adelaide Hills. The name is a nod, not only to wine barrels but also to surfing, and the logo represents ‘a labyrinth of flavour, texture and emotion’. The fruit used in production are farmed biodynamically and sourced from select parcels in the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale. Fermentation is undertaken using the yeast naturally present on the grape skins, with whole bunches often used, producing soft textures and aromas. Taras and Amber’s efforts have seen Ochota Barrels collect many awards and sterling reviews, due in no small part to Taras’ ‘boundary-pushing’ wines.
The ‘Surfer Rosa Pinot Noir Garnacha’ is a rosé blend of Pinot Noir and Grenache (‘garnacha’ being the Spanish name for the grape) with oodles of red fruits over a bone-dry finish. The ‘Texture Like Sun Field Red’ is an interesting mix of Pinot Noir, Merlot, Grenache and Gewürztraminer (and many more), with emphasis on the texture rather than the grape varieties within. The ‘I Am The Owl Syrah’ is a whole-bunch fermented red that spent 88 days on skins in order to extract as much colour and tannin as possible, while still being fresh and light.
For more information on Ochota and their wines, head to their website.