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When Taras and Amber Ochota found their dream winery in Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, it came complete with a block of “north facing Burgundian cloned Chardonnay over a rock base of quartz and ironstone, at 550 meters above sea level.”. The perfect site to make a cool climate Chardonnay.
This tightly wound and lean, style of Chardonnay falls perfectly into the fold with the other “compressed” wines of the Ochota Barrels range.
The Slint sees, almost exclusively, seasoned oak barrels (only one of the eight barrels made was new), full malo, with bâtonage (lees stirring) which is done weekly for 18 weeks prior to a gentle gravity racking and bottling.
Textured but steely to its core, this is a compelling modern Australian Chardonnay.
What It Tastes Like
More generosity this year but it’s still dialled in pretty tight. Lots going on. Grapefruit and nectarine peel in the fold, a hint of tart yellow peach and bright green apples. The mouthfeel is awesome. The core is all steely, slatey, minerals overlaid by a gentle leesy creaminess. Citrus and granny smiths with some crunch and tang. Add a bit of spice and honey. Textured but focused and a long easy coast through the end.
94 points “Again that nutty sake-like aromatic, with jasmine rice, spiced apple and citrus. It’s soft, nutty and almost milky in the way that good Chablis can be, but shot through with bright apple and citrus acidity, flinty texture, and a distinctly savoury umami laden finish of keen length. What a drink we have here. So much personality. It’s great now, too.”
- Gary Walsh (The Wine Front)
Handpicked late February. The vineyard is a steep, high altitude (550m), cool climate, north facing burgundian cloned block in Lenswood with a rock base of quartz and ironstone.
Basket pressed with full solids straight to seven seasoned troncais barriques and a new chassin puncheon. Indigenous yeast fermentation. Full MLF. Weekly batonnage for 18 weeks. No fining or filtering. Settled and carefully gravity racked. No additions besides 30ppm SO2 at bottling
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2022
About the Producer
The term “rockstar winemaker” gets thrown around a lot these days but Taras Ochota, owner/purveyor of cult wine label Ochota Barrels, is the real deal. His grungy, minimalist attitude towards his label has seen him gain huge cult status internationally as one of the most boundary pushing “conceptual” winemakers in Australia.
From his home in the beautiful Basket Range of the Adelaide Hills, Taras and his wife Amber craft small batches of wine from surrounding vineyards in the Hills and special sites across McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley. These are highly sought after and extremely limited wines which have a pulsating energy and drive to them. Some of the country’s most exciting wines, no doubt.
The Adelaide Hills may be the most energised wine region in the country. The sense of exploration and creativity amongst the tribe of talented young winemakers in this region is unparralelled. The Hills has become crucible of Australian wine talent, offering an array of varieties, from classics such as Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, to new varieties like Nebbiolo and Grüner Veltliner for the younger generation to play with. Every vintage brings new colour and complexity to the rich wine, food and produce culture of this cool climate region.
Australian Chardonnay is a seductive variety that comes in all shapes and sizes. From the toasty and voluptuous to the lean, flinty and minerally, there is a Chardonnay out there to suit everyone. Australia’s developing prowess with this variety has been marked by the international community with wine writers such as Jancis Robinson marvelling at the outstanding value to be had right across the country. The prestige brands of Margaret River offer wines of deep flavour and power, often crafting fuller-figured Chardonnay of outstanding quality. The cooler-climate wines from the Yarra Valley, Tasmania and the like are more focused and linear, building complexity around a backbone of pristine acidity. Whatever your preference, there is an Australian Chardonnay to enchant all comers.
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