Saturday, January 07, 2017
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.