2016 Odonata, Cabernet Sauvignon, Prolific Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.
Odonata, on the River Road wine trail, in Monterey County is an up and coming winery and the latest releases are really attention grabbing efforts, especially their thrilling Prolific Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon that displays beautiful and pure Cabernet fruit, smooth structural tannin and possesses a lovely textural opulence. This is an impressive effort and it is already drinking great with fabulous richness on the palate and Bordeaux like finesse and restraint, I could drink a lot more of this stuff. Winemaker Denis Hoey, who mentored under Jeff Emery, owner and winemaker at Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard starting back in 2004 after Hoey finished his college degree at UC Santa Cruz, with their relationship developing into an Old World apprenticeship for Denis, and he became the production manager for SCMV before starting Odonata Wines in Santa Cruz 2005. Odonada found a permanent home when in 2014 Hoey and his wife, Claire, bought the old Marilyn Remark Winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands where they are raising their family, and running the Odonata Winery and tasting room. He has traveled to Italy and France on several occasions to gain a broader perspective about European winemaking techniques, and since then he’s been making interesting wines, and I discovered them about 4 years ago, when I tried their Pet-Nat, but this Cabernet takes it to another level.
Odonata sourced this Cabernet Sauvignon from a vineyard near Los Gatos on the Eastern slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains that is planted to a few French clones and set on a mix of soils including organic matter and crushed shales with warm exposures and cool nights which gave Hoey and his team the perfect balance of ripe fruit and lively acids. Odonata, who generally only work with sustainable and organic grapes, which usually means tiny yields, enjoyed a near perfect growing season in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 2016 with this Prolific showing a rich and generous dark fruit profile and personality. Hoey employs a pretty gentle winemaking process with a nod to tradition and transparency with normal pump overs for the fist week then punchdowns once a day for almost two weeks before pressing to barrel, of which generally for his Cabernet is about 50% new and 50% seasoned French oak, though it feels like less in this wine. Classic layers unfold in the mouth with blackberry, black currant, plum and cherry fruits along with subtle wood notes, anise, minty sage and accented by the smell acacia flowers, vanilla and cedar spice. This is a full bodied treat and gains a delicate loamy and mineral tone with air and I’m sure it will thrive with bottle age, getting more interesting over time, it is a Cabernet that excels with food, especially robust cuisine. It’s a great time to discover Odonata and follow their limited releases, in particular check out the Cabernet, the Pinot Noir and their Durif (Petite Sirah) as well as the fun Pet-Nat(s).
($49 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive