2021 Odonata, Viognier, Chiara, Estate Grown, Santa Lucia Highlands.
As long as I’ve enjoyed Odonata, I didn’t pay much attention to the Viognier, but the other night it was singing and it very much impressed me with it’s varietal purity, vitality and personality, it seriously had true Condrieu like class and charm, it shows remarkable clarity, depth of fruit and mineral tones. This 2021 has a crystalline medium bodied palate with a range of stone fruit and citrus fruits, there’s fleshy apricot, bright tangerine and lime notes that feel layered, rounded and lively, which is enhanced by the beautiful honeysuckle aromatics, salty wet stones, clove spice and a hint of creaminess on the finish. Made from vines set on sandy loams, loose stones with decomposed granite that see the coolest ocean effect with chilly breezes, this Viognier retains loads of natural acidity and the long growing season adds to the concentration and complexity. The Odonata whites typically see whole cluster pressing and native yeast fermentation(s) with aging done in mainly neutral French oak barrels with some lees maturing that allows for a pleasing mouth feel and textural quality, as seen here. Hoey’s Odonata Winery has really made a name for itself over the last few years with a tasty array of eclectic and stylish small lot bottlings, these are well crafted and authentic wines that deserve your attention.

I’ve been a fan of Dennis Hoey’s wines for awhile now and they seem to be getting better and better in recent years, especially his Cabernets, Syrahs and Sangiovese bottlings, but his whites, like this Viognier and his sparkling wines are also brilliant and delicious efforts. Hoey, who has said that only high quality grapes make high quality wines and is focused on organic and sustainable farming. Odonata with three estate vineyards, including Falcon Hill, in the Santa Cruz Mountains where Hoey grows Pinot Noir, Machado Creek near Morgan Hill in the southern Santa Clara Valley, is planted to 10 acres of Petite Syrah, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Sangiovese grapes, and his home Estate Vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands, surrounding his home and winery where the Viognier thrives. There’s a lot to enjoy here at Odonata, some of my personal favorites are Hoey’s Hook Vineyard Syrah, the Santa Cruz Cabernet Sauvignons, the Sparkling Grenache Noir, the Brunello inspired Sangiovese and the new Malbec, which I just discovered when I had this Viognier. Odonata Wines, as mentioned a few times here, 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, right on River Road, which has become one of the best places to visit on the whole SLH wine trail. I was thrilled by Odonata’s 2019s and now really excited by these 2021s, which are looking to eclipse anything produced here to date.
($32 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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