Day 2 started at Lucy Margaux with the inimitable Anton van Klopper. Anton was at the top of his class at the University of Adelaide Wine School and chose to forgo all of his learnings to produce natural wine. We tasted pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, tannat, sauvignon blanc and a few other wines. When I asked when he picks the grapes, he simply responded, “When I feel it is right.”
Next we went to see Gareth Belton at Gentle Folk for some fantastic riesling and pinot noir. Gareth is a scientist by trade and moonlights as a winemaker. He’s only been at it for three years and we were quite impressed with the focus and balance of what he’s producing. Definitely someone to watch.
The highlight of our day was tasting at Ochota Barrels with Taras Ochota along with the wines of his close friends James Erskine of Jauma and Brendon Keys of BK Wines. Here we were able to taste some of the most exciting old-vine grenache in McLaren Vale. All three producers are focused on making wines with finesse and acidity that show best at the dinner table. Whole cluster is a way of life for these guys and we loved the contribution that the stems made in the overall aromatics and texture of the wines.
That evening we broke bread in Taras’s home along with James and Brendon and their significant others for a wonderful introduction to Australian hospitality.—Michael Madrigale
This story appears in the print issue of jan 2019.
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