Ochota Barrels The Mark of Cain Pinot Meunier 2021
This is a small batch of Pinot Meunier from the Adelaide Hills. Named for a punk band Taras once toured with in his previous life, it's as light and feathery as anything that's come out of the Ochota Barrels stable to date. It's all ruby grapefruit, white strawberry, a light crunch of tannin. A more ethereal version of the variety would be hard to find.
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 most amazing wine and surf regions, Taras and Amber Ochota conceived the idea to make beautiful holistic wines back home in South Australia.
After a mis-spent youth playing a rickenbakker bass in various punk bands, Taras became an Oenology graduate from Adelaide University, developing his craft in numerous vineyards and cellars around the world to then settle with Amber on 9.6 steep gorgeous acres tucked away, deep in the Basket Range of the beautiful Adelaide Hills.
Before this Taras worked as the European Flying Winemaker Consultant, concentrating on the Italian regions, Puglia, Abruzzo Sicily and further, for the Swedish wine importing company Oenoforos.
California was also a regular vintage destination, making wines with producers such as Kunin, Bonnacorsi, Arcadian, Schrader, Outpost and the famous Hitching Post’s label, Hartley-Ostini, from the movie ‘Sideways’.
Amber’s wine experience ranges from vintages in Italy, vineyard development and cellar door sales in the Adelaide Hills and coordinating production and wine analysis for Nordic Sea Winery in southern Sweden.
A narrow band of hills and valleys east of the city of Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills region is a diverse landscape featuring a variety of microclimates. In general it is moderate with high-altitude areas cooler and wetter compared to its warmer, lower areas.
Piccadilly Valley, the part of Adelaide Hills closest to the city, was first staked out by a grower named Brian Croser, in the 1970s for a cool spot to grow Chardonnay, then uncommon in Australia. Today a good amount of the Chardonnay goes to winemakers outside of the region.
Producers here experiment with other cool-climate loving aromatic varieties like Pinot Gris, Viognier and Riesling. Charming sparkling wine is also possible. On its north side, lower, west-facing slopes make full-bodied Shiraz.
Almost exclusively used in the production of Champagne, Pinot Meunier is a late budding and early ripening red variety that was once planted extensively throughout northern France. When blended into Champagne’s eponymous sparkling wine, Pinot Meunier adds lively fruit. Chardonnay adds brightness and Pinot Noir is appreciated for structure and weight. Pinot Meunier has acidity levels higher than in Pinot Noir, making it a prized choice for Champagne growers. It thrives in cool north-facing vineyards and is able to withstand damp or frost-prone valleys. Somm Secret—Not surprisingly, it does well in Germany where it goes by Müllerrebe or confusingly, Schwarzriesling.