Ochota Barrels Where’s The Pope Syrah (750ml)
BiodynamicAll of our products that are tagged with the term Biodynamic are either biodynamic certified or biodynamic practicing. Learn More
After travelling around the world’s best wine (and surf) regions, Taras and Amber Ochota decided they wanted to make premium wine, back home in South Australia. Initially, Grenache from Mclaren Vale and Syrah from Barossa Valley were the main goals, with a focus on small batch, single vineyard wines. Since then, the Ochotas now dabble in several different varietals in interesting, older plots throughout Adelaide Hills.
Throughout their travels of France, smaller, biodynamic producers left a big impression of them, influencing their wine-making- something that can still be seen today; hands-off, minimum-intervention, picking early to maintain natural acidity, ferments using indigenous yeasts, whole-bunch pressing the whites, whole-bunch fermentation and longer maceration for the reds. “A holistic approach from autumn to autumn in the vineyard, with the philosophy of going back to basics to create something delicious and unique with mother nature.” – Taras & Amber Ochota
Taras Ochota died suddenly in 2020. He was a huge talent, a friend to many and will be sorely missed. His wife Amber and the Ochota team are continuing the project.
This isn’t your typical, over-extracted Australian Syrah (hence referring to this as Syrah and not Shiraz). Serious and structured, this expression of Syrah has flavours of sweet berries, sweet and savoury herbs, green pepper, and anise notes with fine tannins. Pair with BBQ’d ribs, your favourite cut of steak, and a variety of beef dishes.
100% Syrah, the grapes for this wine come from Onkaparinga Hills, McLaren Vale in South Australia. It is a recent addition to the Ochota Barrels portfolio with 2020 being the first vintage. Sourced from younger organic, dry farmed vines planted in 1996 on the Green Room Grenache vineyard (schist, clay), mostly whole bunch fermentation with indigenous yeasts. 80% short gentle macerations with hand plunging and 20% extended carbonic maceration before pressing straight to seasoned French oak for a few months.
I was lucky enough to visit with the family in early 2020 (before the untimely death of Taras, the head winemaker) and their wines have held a special place in my heart ever since. Nestled within the Basket Range (a small sub-region of the Adelaide Hills), Ochota finds themselves among a small but mighty group of like-minded natural winemakers who are rewriting the book on what Australian wine can be. This is most evident with their approach to Syrah; that’s Syrah and not Shiraz! The naming convention is important because this couldn’t be further from the inky, oaky Shiraz that Australia is so well known for. Instead, this savory style feels stylistically much more at home among Rhone Valley Syrah. The wine is palpably peppery to the extent that one has to wonder: can you smell texture? It should come as no surprise that this wine pairs wonderfully with casual dining fare; think burgers, ribs, or even pizza.