Hours: Open daily 10:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. by appointment
Tasting fees: $60-$165, depending on experience
Wines offered: Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (when available); Adaptation Chardonnay, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon; Cade Estate Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; PlumpJack Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay
Did you know: Like its sister wineries, PlumpJack Winery and Cade Estate, the name “Odette” is a Shakespearean reference.
Newbies don’t often make a grand splash in Napa Valley, where long-established players tend to dominate the field. It takes time to build a reputation and earn accolades. Unless, of course, you’re Odette Estate Winery.
Founded in 2012, this youngest sister in the PlumpJack Group of wineries (which also includes PlumpJack Winery and Cade Estate) is turning heads with a series of astounding accomplishments. It’s the first winery to earn 100 points from Wine Advocate critic Robert Parker with its inaugural release; winemaker Jeff Owens is the only winemaker to earn 100 points for an initial foray; and said wine, the 2012 Odette Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, is the first 100-point wine sealed with a screwcap.
Our visit to the new tasting room and estate lounge, located in the valley’s famed Stags Leap District, started with 2013 Adaptation Chardonnay (fully unoaked, tart and crisp, a mineral driven “patio wine”). Adaptation, the second program produced by Owens for Odette, also includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah; all fruit is sourced from vineyards in Napa.
With fall just starting to show its colors, we choose the Estate Tour and Tasting, which includes a walking tour of the organically farmed property and winery facility. Established in 1963 by Richard Steltzner as a 90-acre farm and orchard, Cabernet Sauvignon was planted on property in 1965 on the advice of Steltzner’s neighbor, Nathan Fay. Behind Fay, it was the second planting of Cabernet in Napa Valley.
Three years ago, Steltzner approached the PlumpJack Group; he was ready for retirement and impressed with the group’s efforts to-date. The by then 60-acre property had 45 vineyard acres, 18,000 square feet of caves and an outdated winery production facility.
A complete overhaul followed, including an ongoing replanting program and rebuilding the winery and tasting facilities to LEED gold standards (LEED is a federally monitored green building standard; Cade was the first LEED gold winery in Napa Valley). Designed by Juancarlos Fernandez of Signum Architecture in St. Helena, green elements include a living roof on the winery facility, old shipping containers repurposed into a winemaking lab and offices, solar panels, electric vehicle charging station and groundwater storage.
The new guest center is elegant and welcoming, with an event lounge that can host up to 200 people for winemaker dinners, wine club parties and other special occasions. It’s also available for private events. The spacious room has high ceilings, dark wood accents and modern fixtures; a large wall of full-length windows opens completely to a small patio with cushioned benches and a fire pit.
Inside, there’s a comfortable couch and seating area, where the Estate Tour and Tasting ends with sampling Adaptation, PlumpJack, Odette and Cade wines. A custom 10-seat dining table hosts the Vineyard View Lunch experience, a three-course meal catered by the Restaurant at Meadowood and paired with Odette wines.
Our tasting began with the 2013 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon, a delicious blend of Napa-sourced fruit that’s aged in a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak barrels for a silky texture and lingering finish. A blend from four different vineyards across the valley, it’s a lovely start to our sampling of reds.
Moving on to the 2012 PlumpJack Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Black explains how each winery in the group is located in a different Napa AVA, so even though all three produce Cabernet Sauvignon, terroir differentiates them. The PlumpJack Cab, from Oakville, is earthy with black pepper, leather and savory herbs. As a treat, we also taste the 2012 PlumpJack Reserve (91 percent Cabernet and 9 percent Petite Verdot), which is another delicious representation of the AVA; it has a rich mouthfeel and seductive flavors of dark fruit, mocha and vanilla.
In comparison, the 2012 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is more floral and velvety, with nice acidity and a new oak nose. It starts with the big Napa fruit you expect, with sweet spice and black cherries, but the balanced tannins and long, lingering finish add a feminine silkiness.
Our final taste, the 2012 Cade Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (100 percent varietal from Howell Mountain), typifies the bold mountain profile with its concentrated flavors and intense aromas of coffee and dark fruit.
By showcasing all these wonderful Cabs side-by-side, the experience at Odette elevated both our palates and knowledge of how place affects taste.
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Located at 1410 Neotomas Ave. in Santa Rosa,NorthBay biz magazine is a monthly business-to-business publication covering Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. This year, the magazine is celebrating 43 years of continuous operation. It originally hit the stands in 1975, when it was called Sonoma Business, and only covered Sonoma County. Norm and Joni Rosinski and John Dennis, acquired it in 2000 and changed its name to cover an expanded market. Today, the magazine is part of Amaturo Sonoma Media Group. More here..