What’s up winos,

    Good weekend? Mine was great, ta for asking. Made a fish pie, went to a dance class, watched an insane(ly bad) movie. Y’all seen Infinity Pool? If you haven’t, give it a wide berth. If you have, let’s talk. I have some THOUGHTS.

    Enough about me, more about our overflowing warehouse shelves. The ‘23 Ochota Barrels just landed yesterday and they are looking SHARP. Literally, got all kinds of paper cuts (cardboard cuts?) while I was unpacking the boxes. Dan was lucky enough to pay them a visit on his most recent jaunt to Oz, and a month later here they are, washing up on our shores. Funny old world, innit. Or should I say funny new world. Ha. At least I make myself laugh. We’ve still got some ‘22s lying around if you want to help us clear some space in our increasingly packed stock room. Seriously, if you sneeze at the wrong time you could send tens of thousands of pounds of bottles crashing to the ground. Help a girl out, would ya? Among the remaining ‘22s we got a top up of the Gewurz, one for the adventurous - a far cry from most soapy, sugary wines made from this controversial varietal (one of Fionn’s favourites, of course, coz he has to be different), this one spends some time on skins to draw out a bit of extra grip to go alongside its notes of herbs and spice.

    If you’re not familiar with the legendary winery, Ochota Barrels began at the tail end of a round the world surf trip. Evidently some of the world’s best surf spots also produce some of the world’s best wines, so Taras and Amber decided to have a crack at making some of their own. Taras and Amber earned their stripes all over the place, consulting on Italian wine regions and doing several vintages in California, before settling down to almost ten hectares tucked away in Adelaide Hills. After Taras’ tragic passing, Amber has continued on with the help of Louis Schofield of Worlds Apart Wines. Ochota makes something for everyone, taking a holistic approach and focusing on texture as a key component in their bottlings.

    On to the ‘23s! 

    The Slint Chardonnay is a fresh green apple bomb, taut and tart as you like. The Price of Silence Gamay is fragrant and mineral, while the Syrah is velvety smooth and pretty, a wild pivot away from the beefy Shiraz you usually find in these parts. The Pinot is spicy and floral, with lovely undergrowth-y, forest floor-y notes (hence the name, doi). New to the Natty Boy shelves is the 100% Pinot Meunier The Mark of Cain, named after one of the many punk bands Taras played in during his pre-wino life - it’s crunchy and electrifying with touches of grapefruit and white strawberry, a stunning rendition of a grape all too often relegated to blending in Champagne, IMHO. Last up is the Out of My Head Grenache, a new cuvee for 2023 made in place of their Fugazi, the vineyard for which was unfortunately decimated by hail last year. The fruit for this one comes from the same talented growers in a vineyard not too far from Fugazi, so s’all good. A bit fleshier than Fugazi, this still has all the life and vibrancy of its predecessor. 

    Up at the super super pointy end of things, we got a tidy little amount of Roc Breia, latest project of the uber-talented Theo Dancer who’s making cracking Pinot and Chardonnay in an oft overlooked part of the Macon, on some windy west-facing vineyards. The vines here are between 50 and 70 years old, planted on soils made of clay, silt and limestone. The first vintage of Roc Breia was only in ‘21 and it was already absolutely smoking, so suffice to say we’re pretty excited about the ‘22s. The Chardonnay is whole bunch pressed then aged in large old barrels for texture aplenty, and the Pinot is made with 50% whole bunches for that gorge aromatic lift. There are few better ways you could spend your pennies than on these bad boys.

    Mmkay, gotta get back to building more shelves for all this wine. The amount of DIY involved in this job never ceases to amaze me. Just call me Jill of all trades. Actually, don’t.

    Love u!