2018 Odonata Wines, Sparkling Dry Riesling, Tondre Grapefield, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The latest Odonata wines, as tasted at the Santa Lucia Highlands Sun, Wind & Wine gala, were all excellent and stylish efforts, something we’ve been accustomed too in recent years as this winery continues to craft some of the most tasty and unique wines in the region, with this refreshing Sparkling Riesling being a prime example. While most people were fighting over the many fine Pinot Noir offerings, I got a chance to preview a couple of special sparkling wines at Odonata and chat a little with owner/winemaker Denis Hoey, who as well as being a skilled winemaker, is one of the most real and nicest people you could meet, a quality that even makes the wines taste even better. These two new bubbly offerings include an intriguing red sparkler made from old vine Grenache, which was also delicious, and this vibrant almost German Sekt like, mineral driven Tondre Sparkling Riesling. Brut dry and with a refined Champagne style mouse, this latest Odonata Riesling Fizz shows racy citrus, yeasty notes and a nice stony nature with hints of lime blossom, lemon, bread dough, wild peach and wonderful small beading bubbles, making for a clean, leesy and elegant version that sips nicely on its own, but has enough depth and structure to enhance a seafood meal. Odonata, founded back in 2005, came of age in 2014 When Hoey and his wife, Claire, bought the old Marilyn Remark Winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands, creating a home for their family and a state of the art facility from where to grow one of the region’s most exciting labels.

Odonata has great lineup these days and the quality in their 2018 and 2019 wines has reached a new level, especially in their reds, which include a seriously good Syrah and Brunello style Sangiovese, as well as top notch Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon(s) that offer way more complexity and pleasure than the price would suggest, it is a great time to discover these wines. There are also these Methode Champenoise offerings, all done with hand crafted precision and finished clean with cage and cork, letting you know they are more luxurious and transparent than the more raw Pet-Nat versions that are much easier and common these days. The Tondre Grapefield vineyard sits on sandy loams and is now highly regarded for Pinot Noir and Syrah, but the Riesling here has really come into its own, much like Morgan’s Double L Estate, giving grapes filled with dynamic acidity, varietal purity and ripe concentration, making for compelling dry still wines as well as this crisp Sparkling version. This wine needed no sugar dosage and it was aged on the lees and riddled in bottle over a long period to gain depth and richness, all the while keeping the Riesling’s classic electric zesty quality, which really shows in this latest offering. With the days being longer and filled with warm sunshine, this Odonata Sparkling Riesling is going to be even more rewarding and will be perfect for these gorgeous sunsets on the coast and it will go fantastically well with raw oysters and or fish tacos, I highly recommend giving this bubbly a try as soon as possible. Odonata has a great patio and tasting room in the SLH, right on the famous River Road, it is a great spot to visit and taste authentic and terroir driven wines.
($38 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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