Winery/Vineyard: Otra Cosa
Product/Varietal: Red Blend — Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Syrah, Petite Sirah
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Joseph Wiens
How They Describe It
2017 Pillar Of Earth
Red Wine Blend
our first, by OTRA COSA
Medium Body, Red Fruit Forward, Good Acidity.
Zin, Merlot, Cab Sauv, Barbera, Syrah, Petite Sirah
Various Vineyards, Temecula
Each of the wines blended here were all individually barrel aged in neutral oak barrels, and batched together with the intention of creating a light/medium bodied red wine with good acidity, and fresh fruit aromas/flavors.
Easy going, and unpretentious red blend that pairs well with food.
How I Describe It
Otra Cosa’s inaugural bottling of its many-varietaled red blend features a medium-intensity ruby-red base. Closer to the rim, the color transitions slightly, revealing a magenta tint.
The nose on the Otra Cosa 2017 Pillar of Earth is a trip. Up close, the wine’s prominent aromas are an expected fruit-forward bouquet of plum and bright red Bing cherries, strawberries, black currant, and cranberries. These are joined by layers of eucalyptus, nutmeg, spearmint, rosemary, and dried basil. A thin veil of leather wraps it all together.
However, the real experience comes when you hold the glass about six inches away. It’s at that point you smell something extremely unexpected: Maple Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal and red delicious apples.
Cherries, strawberries, and currant lead the march of flavors, followed by a wave of plum and blackberry. Depth comes from herbal, herbaceous, and spicy elements of eucalyptus cough drop, white pepper, fennel, and green olive. A touch of cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, and tobacco points to the wine’s time in oak. And a leather finish declares emerging tertiary maturity.
The Otra Cosa 2017 Pillar of Earth is a dry wine with high alcohol (14.3% ABV). In addition, medium acid and high tannins add to the full body. Flavor intensity is medium-plus, as is the finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
If there is any word to describe Otra Cosa, it’s unexpected. Whether pioneering a winemaking style in the Temecula Valley AVA, or messing with drinkers’ taste buds and smell receptors, Otra Cosa’s wines are an experience in creativity.
Above all, I can’t get over how astonishing the nose on the Otra Cosa 2017 Pillar of Earth was. Considering wine is one of the most complex molecular amalgams (I’ve heard it’s second only to blood), unpredicted aromas shouldn’t be terribly surprising. Regardless, it was a very cool experience.
That said, Otra Cosa was founded by the second generation of Wiens family winemakers to introduce new ideas to the local winemaking ecosystem. In that respect, Joseph Wiens and the Otra Cosa team are succeeding in spades.
When & How I Would Drink It
The Otra Cosa 2017 Pillar of Earth is rustic and herbaceous, and deserves to be paired with similarly herbaceously-seasoned proteins. For example, try pouring it next to Mediterranean or Middle Eastern fare, like kebab or shawarma. Similarly, the 2017 Pillar of Earth would complement roasted seasoned vegetables like zucchini and yellow squash, as well as basmati rice and rice pilaf.
In a pinch, this is also a bottle worth opening with Chinese takeout, particularly if your order is on the heavier side — beef & broccoli, black pepper chicken, or pork with Szechwan garlic sauce.
On the other hand, the 2017 Pillar of Earth is an outstanding party wine. It’s fruit-forward enough for most drinkers to appreciate, and the extraordinary nose is a great conversation topic.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $24.00
Cases Produced: ~100 cases
Have you tried the Otra Cosa 2017 Pillar of Earth? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.