2019 Odonata Winery, Syrah, Hook Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The upcoming release of 2009 Odonata Hook Vineyard Syrah is full on Northern Rhone style, Jamet Cote-Rotie inspired whole cluster fermented beauty with layers of black fruits, including black raspberry, damson plum, black currant and kirsch, along with black olive tapenade, feral earthiness, mocha, licorice, burnt embers, crushed violets, peppercorns and lingering creme de cassis. The body is full and delivers ripe tannin and an opulent mouth feel, but still is racy with the whole bunch crunch and nice cool climate acidity, plus a subtle wood element, making for a thrilling wine that is exceptional with rustic and robust cuisine, especially pork and lamb dishes. Owner/winemaker Denis Hoey, who as well as being a skilled winemaker, is one of the most real and nicest people you could meet, in this business, a quality that even makes his wines taste even better. Using traditional methods in the cellar and sustainable farming, Hoey’s Odonata has really made a name for itself with a tasty array of eclectic and standard small lot bottlings, from Riesling bubbly to classic Pinot Noir, with this SLH Syrah being one of my favorites. There’s a lot to admire with this terroir driven Hook Syrah, it delivers a ton of personality and complexity and is a great value for the price, old world Syrah fans will find some joy here and it should age well too, drink from 2022 to 2032.

Odonata is enjoying some exciting times with new releases of their Silacci Vineyard Pinot Noir, Hook Vineyard Grenache, a Brunello style Sangiovese, a Carbonic Carignan and brilliant set of Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon(s), along with this Hook Vineyard Syrah and their unique collection of sparkling wines, which I reviewed earlier here at Grapelive.com. Odonata Wines, as mentioned, was founded in Santa Cruz back in 2005, but became a full fledged estate winery in 2014 when they moved into the old Marilyn Remark Winery property in the Santa Lucia Highlands on River Road, which is one of the best places to visit on the SLH wine trail. The Hook Vineyard, which is noteworthy for old vine Grenache, as well as Syrah, has some small yielding mature vines with the Santa Lucia Highlands under-pinning of decomposed granite and sandy loams with a cool breezy Pacific Ocean influenced climate that gives a long hang time and full concentrated flavors, as this terrific Syrah delivers perfectly. The Syrah sees a lengthy cool maceration and is fermented with native yeasts with Hoey employing hand punch-downs, making sure the cap stays wet and that full extraction is achieved before the wine is rested, for about a year, in mostly well used French barrels, all to promote authentic varietal character and transparency. I’m thrilled with these new Odonata wines, from the 2019 vintage, like this savory edged dark inky purple Syrah and can’t wait to see more, I highly recommend checking these wines out!
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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