2009 Veritable Quandary from Odisea Wine Co.

vqlabelGiven our limited, though thoughtfully selected, Domestic Wine section, TWH tends to rarely carry multiple offerings from a single winery at any given time. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are just that. In the case of Odisea Wine Company, their offerings are so eclectic, varied and delicious it is agonizing to choose just one red and one white to put on our shelf, and so we refuse to comply with such a restrictive self-imposed rule. At present, we have SIX different wines from Odisea Wine Company in inventory. Rather than describe all six, I’d like to shine a spotlight on the 2009 Veritable Quandary Red as I believe this wine beautifully demonstrates the skilled blending ability winemaker Adam Webb possesses that results in plush, fruit-driven wines that also showcase depth and personality.

The breakdown for the 2009 Veritable Quandary Red goes like this: 25% Syrah, 17% Grenache, 17% Tempranillo, 14% Petite Sirah, phew, let me catch my breath…12% Field Blend, 12% Alvarelhao and (drum roll please) 3% Carignane. Like so many of my favorite domestic blends, see Thackrey’s Pleiades XX, the Veritable Quandary may seem like an arbitrary blend, but it isn’t. It happens to be a far more complicated matter. Each varietal component brings something to the table, so to speak. Adam and his partner, Mike Kuenz, ferment the grapes (10% of the Syrah was whole cluster fermented), then the wine goes into barrel (mostly neutral French oak), and after 12 months of ageing the blending trials begin. Adam explains the blending process as being a bit of a quandary where the outcome has just one goal: the wine must taste good to them both. After putting together the initial blend for the ’09, it was put back into neutral barrel to harmonize flavors. Three months later, the final blending was completed. This seems like a whole lotta effort to go through for a wine that TWH is able to offer for $15.98! Seriously! Who could resist the plumy fruit and the black cherry, kirsch-like finish? I surely can’t. And then there’s an eucalyptus mintiness and white pepper spice in there which gives contrast to the explosive fruit flavors. This is certainly not a one note red; it’s got a kiss of funk and layers of flavors. Adam Webb sources his fruit from a number of dedicated growers from all over Northern California, but it is his work with the fruit from Clement Hills AVA, a sub-appellation of Lodi, that he is notorious for getting just right. I ran across an article that covers a lot of information on this subject that is well worth reading by the Lodi Wine Commission, if you’d like to learn more.

bottleloadingdockLast summer I had an obsession with stuffed summer squash. This year I have abandoned the stuffed squash for a casserole layering thinly slices of zucchini, or any other summer squash, in place of what would traditionally be pasta…a sort of zucchini lassagne if you will. This is my comfort food. It is a perfect opportunity to integrate any fresh herb-y thing growing in your summer garden and with my cooking skills, or lack thereof, no two casseroles ever come out the same. For this type of dish, I look for wines that are equally comforting, ones that have plenty of plush fruit with no hard edges like the 2009 Veritable Quandary. This week’s zucchini casserole had a ton of pungent fresh basil that gloriously matched the Veritable Quandary’s note of eucalyptus…super tasty!

I should mention that this month’s Dirty Dozen includes the 2009 Veritable Quandary–so why not take advantage of the additional savings that our beloved, popular sampler affords? As those indoctrinated into the ways of the Dirty Dozen already know: this is one of the best wine deals in town!
Anya Balistreri


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