Ochota Barrels Mark of Cain Pinot Meunier

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Winemaker: Taras Ochota

Appellation: McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

Grape Varieties:  Pinot Meunier

About This is the fourth vintage of ‘The Mark of Cain’, the high-toned, effusive Pinot Meunier named after a punk band whom Taras had played as an opener for. ‘The Mark of Cain’ could be described as simple, but energetic, vocals layered atop a lurching and chaotic rhythm section…that aptly defines this wine. This is one of the oldest Pinot Meunier vineyards in the Adelaide Hills, planted in the Piccadilly Valley in 1985. The dry-farmed vines really provide a great deal of intensity for the delicate aromas and tones.

The fruit was hand-picked in early-March and the vast majority of the fruit was destemmed with only 10% being kept intact. The lots were placed into two one-ton open top fermenters with a few handfuls of stalks and fermentation kicked off almost immediately. The cap was gently submersed for a little more than a week before being basket pressed to old French barriques for aging. After five months the wine was bottled without fining or filtration and just a small 40 ppm sulfur addition.

Tasting Note This chimeric mutation of pinot noir is simply about pink florals in spring. There are elements of freshly baked vosges mountain cherry cake with an estery core dotted with fennel seed, almond meal, rhubarb and frijola. The palate drive is from crunchy whole bunch natural acidity. The Ochota trademark of tightly wound fine tannins wrapped in a core of pulsing bright red berries. Succulent with the mid palate holding length and energy.

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 (listen to Kranktus’ Heckler album), 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.

-Vine Street Imports