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Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It's culture. It's the essence of civilization and the art of living. - Robert Mondavi

Odette - Gavin Newsom's Newest Daughter...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gavin Newsom has welcomed another new member to his family.  Family of wineries that is... Nestled in the hills across from Pine Ridge Winery right off the Silverado Trail in the Stags Leap District, Odette is the adorable new sister winery to Plumpjack (in the Oakville appellation) and CADE Estate Winery (in the Howell Mountain appellation).  The Stags Leap District where Odette makes her home is famous for it’s distinctive varietal aromas and flavors and a delicately articulated structure to its powerful wines.  The winery was purchased in February 2012 and the tasting room opened in August, 2012 .  While visitors are welcome, t
he winery and caves are currently undergoing an extensive remodel by Juancarlos Fernandez, the man behind CADE. The new winery will be LEED certified and the wine will be 100 percent organic. Odette’s navy-blue and white hued tasting room currently serves the Adaptation wine label created from different Napa appellations, and the Odette Estate and Reserve wines as well as winery and cave tours will not be available until 2014.  

By that date, Odette will also open an event space that can accommodate 150 people for events and wedding receptions.  The 40 acres of planted Odette property owned by Odette will grow Cabernet, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.   The winery will still distribute Adaptation when the Odette Estate wines open and this label is currently only for purchase at Odette winery property.  If you’re curious how this family came to be named, look no further than Shakespeare.  The Plumpjack winery is named after a character from a Shakespearean play.  CADE winery is the Old English translation for the word for Cask, and Odette is a tongue and cheek name derived from several famous stories: She was one of Henry the 14th’s wives, the white swan from Swan Lake and was also the only female judge in the famous Judgement of Paris in 1976, who demanded her ballot back after voting in favor of Napa’s Chateau Montelena over French cabernet blends. The feather on the Adaptation wine bottle label comes from the white swan, Odette and this label is their adaptation to the new winery (blending from all over the valley) before the Odette Estate and Reserve Wines from Stags Leap are ready to be released in 2014.

The tasting room is open weekly from 10:30 am - 4:00 pm by appointment only, and private tastings can be accommodated in the private room, refreshing and whimsical with a large dandelion painted across one wall, and paintings of the White Swan from Swan Lake hung on an adjacent wall, and floor to ceiling glass on the other so guests can enjoy views of the beautiful Stags Leap cliffs and vineyards outside the white picket fence bordering the property.  I brought my family to taste at Odette on Christmas Eve, and we enjoyed a leisurely tasting of a variety of Plumpjack, Cade and Adaptation wines, while enjoying the airy environment and some delicious olives and marcona almond snacks.  The selection of wines is suitable to any palate and comes in varying price points so that there truly is something affordable for everyone - from a prince to a pauper (well maybe paupers don’t drink wine this good but you get the picture).  The Chardonnays from both Adaptation and Plumpjack are made with no malolactic fermentation and they manage to maintain a crisp freshness that is still round and supple - When you’re there - try to taste which one has 40% oak barrel aging...  

Aside from these white beauties, my favorites from our tasting included the seductively smoky Syrah and the Howell Mountain Cabernet.  The Merlot (whose Grapes are sourced from the famed Beckstoffer vineyards) is one that will turn your opinion of Merlot sideways, so be sure to request a taste of this elegant wine as well. Tasting notes from our visit are below:

2010 Plumpjack Chardonnay: $48 Aged in 40% oak, this wine shows inviting aromas Granny Smith apples, Bartlett pears, orange blossom, and cinnamon spice. On the palate, flavors of apple pie, pear, banana bread and green tea give into a rich yet racy finish. The acidity is perfectly balanced and the wine well-rounded and supple.

2011 Adaptation Chardonnay: $32
This 100% stell-tank aged refreshing Chardonnay has aromas of citrus, white peach, orange blossom and flavors of Granny Smith Apple are accompanied by a hint of minerality, a touch of creaminess, and crisp acidity for a pleasing finish.  

2009 Cade Napa Cuvee: $60
This elegant Cuvee is a blend of 88% Cab, 7% Petit Verdot, and 5% Merlot. Aromas of Black Cherry and Créme de Cassis are followed on the palate with flavors of Bing Cherry, Pipe Tobacco, Baker's Chocolate, caramel and Roasted Nuts. ant, silky finish.

2010 Plumpjack Merlot: $52
This 93 point wine has rich aromas of Black Cherry, Baked Plums, and Blackberry followed with warm notes of Dark Fudge, Chocolate, and Vanilla Beans. On the palate is Raspberry Cordial, Cherry Pie Filling, and Cedar box mingle with hints of Cinnamon. The sweet toastiness comes from 15 months barrel aging in 70% French oak and 20% American oak.

2010 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon: $42
This well-balanced wine opens with bright red fruits - raspberries, tart cherry and dried cranberry with notes of vanilla and espresso.  The palate has a concentrated core with layers of black currant, cocoa powder, toffee, and candied cherry.

2009 CADE Howell MTN Cabernet Sauvignon: $80
This wine has wonderful freshness with flavors of chocolate, currant, mint, and vanilla bean on the palate.  The wine has firm supple tannins and can be aged for 6-9 years.

2010 Plumpjack Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: $98
This dense, elegant Cabernet is an opulent wine that has great structure and balance.  Notes of blackberry and cherry on the nose and palate are accompanied by threads of black pepper, mint, vanilla and spices giving the wine a sultry complexity.

2010 Plumpjack Syrah: $48
This beautifully aromatic wine has flavors of raspberry cordial, blackberry, star anise, ripe plums white pepper, savory smoked meat and vanilla which finesse the palate with an alluringly precise palate.

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