Unusual Suspects


Is it possible to like a wine more and more each time you drink it? Whenever I have the pleasure of drinking the 2007 Unusual Suspects from Odisea Wine Company, I find more and more to appreciate. And that is saying a lot considering I knew it just had to grace our shelves the moment I first tasted it. It’s been tough out there in the wine world. The Wine House has been presented with new labels at a rate never before seen. Truth be told, most of the wine is sound and good but not much new that stands out. Then came along this clever blend of Carignane, Tempranillo and Grenache from a young winemaker who looks to Northern Spain and Southern France for inspiration. The pendulum is swinging. It seems winemakers are looking to forge new frontiers leaving Burgundy and Bordeaux behind as their reference points. This trend has come along with another trend — wine drinkers who seek less oaked, softer tannin reds. The majority of the blend for the 2007 Unusual Suspects is 100+ year old vine Carignane grown in the heart of Lodi. History in the bottle. The vines are head pruned and have ridiculously low yields. If my notes are correct, its something like a half-ton to the acre!

All three varietals are hand picked, minimally handled and fermented separately in neutral French oak barrels. After putting the final blend together the wine is further oak aged before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. I get sweet aromas of strawberry patch and rhubarb pie along with red berry and wild plum flavors. The oak, though present, stands far in the background lending spice box and white pepper notes.. The tannins are indeed soft and supple but nevertheless the wine has staying power and medium-bodied oomph. I’ve drunk this wine with chicken breasts stuffed with mushrooms-dynamite!-and have enjoyed it while watching bad TV. I’ve finished a bottle with friends in an evening and I’ve tasted a glass from an unfinished bottle hidden away in my cupboard for three days. Each time I thought to myself, more people need to know about this wine. Sadly only 270 cases were produced, so this won’t be around for long. But at least you know that it is indeed a small production, labor of love kinda wine.
I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotion this past week experiencing both moments of deep sadness over the passing of a beloved relative and sheer joy. Awhile back my daughter had asked where did the Russian River flow? Telling her that it flows into the ocean left little impression and perhaps created more confusion. On Tuesday I gathered my folks, my daughter and my dog, and off we drove to Jenner. At the breathtaking River’s edge, we viewed the fresh and salt water merge together. It was an unusually clear sunny day. Even the seals were sunbathing. I am pretty sure that now my daughter understands where the River flows…Anya Balistreri

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