Archives: September, 2013

Australian Winemakers in London

On Wednesday afternoon I had the chance to spend some time with Gary Mills of Jamsheed Wines and Taras Ochota of Ochota Barrels, two wine makers from Australia.

Jamsheed is a pretty cool proposition. Gary is an English Literature graduate and it comes through on his website. He started making wine in 2003 based in the Yarra. He doesn’t own vineyards – it is pretty hard to unless you have vast capital at your command – but buys grapes from contracted growers around Victoria. He drives around 100,000 miles a year just keeping an eye on the grapes, which is dedication indeed.

Taras of Ocota Barrels shares winemaking duties with partner Amber. They are based just outside Adelaide and their ethos is surfing, wine and punk rock. Which, to me, sounds like the perfect combination. So we have the name itself; Ochota being their surname and barrels being a good thing if you are into surfing. Also wine names like; “a forest adelaide hills pinot noir” named after The Cure track and “the fugazi vineyard blewit springs grenache”, this from the superb Washington DC punk band of the same name.

Jamsheed makes a lot more wine that Ochota and the company has been in business a lot longer. His wines focus a lot on Syrah but makes some great Riesling and Rousanne too. What made them stand out to me is their freshness, perfume and sheer drinkeability. These wines are much more N Rhone than they are Australia, so expect lighter weight, more cocoa and spice and clear ring of earthy natural fruit. They are low intervention wines that let the fruit and the vineyard come through.

Ochota as a business is pretty young and, although they have made a lot of wine for other people over the years it is only recently that Taras and Amber decided to go full out under their own label. What stood out to me was the texture of the wines, there is a thread of raw scratchy phenolic fuzz to the wines that make them really interesting on the palate and bring you back to the glass again and again. The Slint Chardonnay stood out, as did the aforementioned Fugazi Grenache. I’ve blogged before that Aussie Grenache has a lot to offer and this is yet more eveidence. Again this is low intervention wine making in action, so you get to taste the fruit and the soil.

I’m going to be listing some of these as soon as I can carve out some space on the Australia shelf.

Many thanks to Gary and Taras for their time and enthusiasm. The tasting was at a wine bar in Wapping called the Victualler. It is a cool, wine focused place and well worth checking out. So many thanks too to Daniil and Baroka for hosting us.

Daniil from the Victualler

Daniil from the Victualler

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I did makes notes - look...

I did makes notes – look…

Taras Ochota

Taras Ochota

Gary Mills

Gary Mills

Gary Mills

Gary Mills

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Taras Ochota

Taras Ochota

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About a dozen wines to taste

About a dozen wines to taste

September Wine Tasting

On Saturday 21st ans Sunday 22nd September Scarlet wines is holding the first of what we hope will become our annual September Wine Festival. Why September ? Well, (hopefully) good weather and a little more time to breathe after the hectic summer make it the perfect time to relax and enjoy the good things in life. Like great wine, great spirits and great food.

We have lined up about thirty wines for you to try. You will see from the following pages that these are generally grouped into grape varieties or sryle. The aim is that you can try contrasting styles of the same grape or blend.

You can taste as many or as few of the wines as you like all for £15. You will get a tasting sample of each wine, usually about 25ml. We’d love to pour you a big glass of each wine but then you would never make it to the end of the tasting! Spitoons are available on request. A discount of 10% is available for anything you buy or order at the tasting. We are also running an all day tapas menu, so if you would like some food to go with your wine please let us know.

No ticket is needed in advance. See you at the tasting!

Here is the list of wines available to taste

Sparkling Wines
Jeio Prosecco Valdobbiadene Brut NV, Glera, Italy £12.95
Graham Beck Brut Rose NV, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, South Africa, £13.45 www.grahambeckwines.co.za
Babot Cava NV, Parellada, Xarel-Lo, Maccabeo, Spain, £10.95
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV, Pinot Noir, Pinot Neunier, Chardonnay, Champagne, £42 http://charlesheisieck.com/en

White Wines
Domaine Beausejour Les Grenettes, 2012, Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine, Loire, £10.95 www.domainedebeausejour.com/en/
Newton Johnson Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, Sauvignon Blanc + 7% Semillon, Hemel en Aarde, South Africa, £11.45, www.newtonjohnson.com
Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, Sauvignon Blanc, Martinborough, New Zealand, £16.45, www.atarangi.co.nz
Rijckaert Viré-Clessé Mont Chatelaine Macon Villages 2010, Chardonnay, Maconnais, France, £11.95, www.rijckaert.fr/en
De Loach Chardonnay 2012, Chardonnay, California, £10.45, www.deloachvineyards.com
Spy Valley Riesling 2012, Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand, £14.45, www.spyvalleywine.co.nz
Dreisigacker Estate Riesling Trocken 2012, Riesling, Rheinhessen, Germany, £13.95, www.dreissigacker-wein.de
Domain Gayda Figure Libre Blanc 2010, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Rousanne, Maccabeo, Chenin Blanc, Pay d’Oc, France, £13.45, www.domainegayda.com
Hugel Gewurtztraminer 2010, Gewurtztraminer, Alsace, France, £17.45, www.hugel.com
Domaine Pfister Cuvee 8 2009, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Alsace, France, £13.95, www.domaine-pfister.com/en

Red Wines
Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2011, Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand, £17.45, www.spyvalleywine.co.nz
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2011, Pinot Noir, Hemel an Aarde, South Africa, £23.45, www.newtonjohnson.com
St Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2012, Syrah, Southern Rhone, France, £11.45, www.stcosme.com/en
Newton Johnson Full Stop Rock 2009, Syrah 91%, Grenache, Mourvedre, Hemel en Aarde, South Africa, www.newtonjohnson.com
Inspira Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012, 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Maipo Valley, Chile, £9.45, www.chocalanwines.com
Plantagenet Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Barker, Western Australia, £22.45, www.plantagenetwines.com
Chateau Larose de Gruaud 2007, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, St Julien, Bordeaux, £26.45, www.gruaud-larose.com
Riva Leone Barbera 2011, Barbera, Piemonte, Italy, £7.95
Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 2010, Sangiovese, Rufina, Italy, £13.95, www.selvapiana.it
Proprieta Sperino Uvaggio 2009, 65% Nebbiolo, 20% Vespolina, 15% Croatina, Lessona, Italy, £23.95, www.proprietasperino.it/en

Sweet Wines
Jean Marc Lafage Muscat de Rivesaltes Els Pyreneus 2011, Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains, Muscat d’Alexandrie, Languedoc Rousillon, France, £10.95 500ml
Graham Beck Rhona Muscadelle 2008, Muscat de Frontignan, Breede River, South Africa, £9.45 500ml, www.grahambeckwines.co.za
Chateau Pierre Bise Coteaux de Layon 2001, Chenin Blanc, Loire, France, £17.95 500ml
Cantine Leonardo Vin Santo 2006, Trebbiano, Tuscany, Italy, £26.95 500ml, www.cantineleonardo.it/en