2014 Odonata, Syrah, Coastview Vineyard, Gabilan Mountains, Monterey County.
At almost a decade old the 2014 Coastview Syrah by Denis Hoey of Odonata is absolutely brilliant and maturing perfectly, much in line with what you’d want from an aging Cornas, with dark berry, earthy mulberry, plum and black cherry fruits along with an array of dried herbs and spices, truffle, tartare, anise and pretty violets ever present in a medium/full bodied vinous wine that has evolved nicely with subtle tannin and delicate cedary wood. This opulent purple/black and garnet colored wine just got better and better in the glass adding pleasing creme de cassis, graphite, black fig and contrasting leathery savory tones that keep things interesting and begs for some hearty cuisine to lift it even further, this is a very impressive showing from Hoey and proves, like the wines from Big Basin and Samuel Louis Smith, that this vineyard in the Gabilan Range is an elite site for Rhone varietals, especially Syrah, as well as Chardonnay. Odonata, located in the Santa Lucia Highlands, was founded by Hoey back in 2005, a year after graduating college at UC Santa Cruz and mentoring under Jeff Emery, a local legend and winemaker at Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, is one of the best wineries to visit on River Road with a exceptional set of authentic wines. Over the last decade Hoey has fine tuned his offerings and I always love tasting through his wines, especially his Syrahs, so tasting this one, a library selection from magnum was a real treat, and I highly recommend his current releases as well.

The Coastview Vineyard, which was planted in 1999, has an excellent set of conditions to make incredible wines with an elevation between 2200-2400 feet and set on a complex mix of decomposed granite and limestone soils, all of which along with warm exposures and a cooling influence from the Pacific Ocean makes for a happy home for Syrah, as this wine shows. An interesting set of varietals are planted here, these include the mentioned Chardonnay and Syrah, which is mainly Clone 1 or Alban Cote-Rotie, as well as a mix of Pinot Noir clones and Alban clone Grenache. Odonata’s Syrah typically sees a good deal of whole cluster with 25% being the sweet spot usually with the stems adding some crunchy pop to the wine and Hoey has a deft touch with this grape, always achieving mouth filling concentration and depth, but still having an inner brightness and impressive taut structures, which, as seen here, provides well judged framework. Denis, who uses only sustainable and or organic grapes, picked by and carefully sorted, does a cool maceration and did gentle pump overs for about 3 days for more fruit and color extraction, then he switched over to classic hand punch downs at least once daily for a total of three weeks, then it got basket pressed to barrel. The barrel aging period goes from a year to 18 for the Syrah offerings and is done in mainly used, well seasoned French and Hungarian oak, all of which is employed to capture varietal purity, terroir and feral complexity. As noted before, back In 2014 Hoey and his wife, Claire, bought the defunct Marilyn Remark Winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands, where they live and work, making wines from select vineyard sites in Monterey, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties highlighting each unique vineyard.
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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