Ochota Barrels Sense of Compression Grenache
Winemaker: Taras Ochota
Appellation: McLaren Vale, Australia
Grape Variety: Grenache
It was a love of music that brought wunderkind winemaker Taras Ochota into the orbit of music-fanatic and President of Vine Street Imports, Ronnie Sanders, who saw his wine named after the punk band Fugazi. "I had to meet this guy. It was so wild to see this on a bottle," Sanders says.
A trip to the US ensued. Sanders, a friend of Maynard Keenan from the rock group Tool, suggested visiting Caduceus, Keenan's winery and vineyards in Arizona. Ochota did, a friendship was struck, and that was the catalyst for this intriguing new release wine, the 2013 Ochota Barrels A Sense of Compression.
The idea of compression was discussed over a number of glasses of wine, and it worked hand-in-hand with the relaxed, experimental, freed-up winemaking that would result. "I want all the wines I make to have a tightness; a coiled nature; a sense of compression. In terms of music styles, compression probably relates to an idea of density of sound. In wine, it's about picking a bit earlier, spending some more time on skins, and getting density but with lightness. The mid-palate holds the compression, it pulls everything together," explains Ochota.
Keenan came to Australia in 2013 with his other band, Puscifer. Ochota picked him up from the airport and they got straight into winemaking ideas. According to Ochota, Keenan suggested co-fermenting grenache with another variety. So they applied the mantra of the late Sam Hughes from Natural Selection Theory "you can improve anything with Gewürztraminer." Ochota and Keenan went to The Green Room vineyard in McLaren Vale, a site planted in the 1930s that produces wonderful Grenache fruit.
Keenan returned on another tour in 2013 with Tool and joined Ochota at his family home in the Adelaide Hills for a spot of winemaking. Fruit was picked, grapes were handled, two per cent gewürztraminer went into the mix, the wine spent a long time going through the magic of carbonic maceration, and was born on 1 March 2014.
Bright red. Deeply pitched raspberry liqueur and floral pastille aromas are lifted and sharpened by a suggestion of blood orange. Offers palate-staining red fruit flavors and a seamless texture, with a hint of peppery spices adding bite. Closes sweet, expansive and extremely long, with echoing spiciness and smooth, slow-building tannins.