Saturday, January 07, 2017

Morning in the Winery: 4.

This morning, Vinomaker and I ventured upvalley to partake in the annual event, Morning in the Winery (MITW).  This year there were five wineries to choose from; Humanitas Wines, Bouchaine Vineyards, Odette Estate Winery, Silver Oak Cellars and Beringer Vineyards.  We would normally pick the winery closest to home to visit, but a shortish drive up to Odette Estate Winery seemed in order.  (I have been wanting to visit this particular winery for a while.)   This may have been only the fourth time MITW has been held, but the event seems to be a victim of its own success.  MITW is a good event and I did enjoy myself, but perhaps not as much as at previously held events.
Despite some of the heaviest rain of the season so far, some 300 plus people converged upon Odette, a smallish winery (which was formerly Steltzner Winery), all of whom were milling about and trying to avoid the heavy rain.  A general air of disorganization hung over the event, much like the low-lying rain clouds above the Stag's Leap District AVA, but it didn't stop me from tasting through the Odette wines.  And the wines were; a 2014 Reserve (titter, titter) Chardonnay (oaky, sigh), $66; a 2014 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon (tasted unfinished), $54; a 2013 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (pleasant, nice lavender vibe), $126; and a 2014 Adaptation Petite Sirah (soft, fruit-forward, with an appealing acidity that balanced the chalky-tannin character that poorly made Petite Sirah can exhibit in spades, best of the bunch), $44.
As an aside, when Odette first opened to the public, the winery's By Appointment Only (BAO) sign was conspicuously located on the first slat below the Odette Estate name.  After several months, perhaps, (I drive by this winery on my way to TWWIAGE) the BAO sign had migrated to a lower slat and was, consequently, obscured by the landscaping.  Then, just recently, the sign was newly relocated to its current, and once again visible, position. Curious, I thought then.  Now I know why.
Without diving head first into the intricacies of Napa County's Winery Definition Ordinance, I think it is safe to say that Odette rethought the positioning of their BAO sign because they had signed up to particpate in a high profile event, i.e., MITW.  Whilst an obscured BAO sign will increase the number of walk-in tasters, thus maximizing potential wine sales, it will also maximize how much trouble a winery can get into with Napa County, (dependent upon how egregiously a winery flouts the limitations set forth in its use permit.)  In 2013, Caymus agreed to pay a $1,000,000 fine to the county for violating the terms defined in its particular use permit.  It's alcohol and it's regulated.
I shall keep my eye on Odette's peripatetic signage.


Dennis Tsiorbas said...

All-in-all, sounds like a good time.
$1,000,000! Killing the goose that laid the golden eggs! Typical Cali bureaucracy!
Seems to me you have had a love for Petite Sirah, so if you say it's good (kind of young), it must be!
Good way to head into 2017!

Thomas said...

"It's alcohol and it's regulated" and it's a free country ...

Vinogirl said...

NHW: No, in my opinion Caymus were very much 'in flagrante vino' and were deserving of a wrist slapping (yes, even to the tune of $1,000,000).

Tomasso: In this "free country" of yours, I like to enjoy a bit of countryside now and again. I much prefer the beautiful (1968 Agricultural Preserve) preserved vineyards of the Napa Valley to any expanse of tarmac, concrete and tract homes. Call me old-fashioned, but I liken some winery owner's protestations to those of people who buy a house next to an airport, only to complain about the sound of the jet engines.