Odette Estate is part of the PlumpJack Group which includes three other wineries in the Napa Valley, PlumpJack, Cade Estate and CADE 13th Vineyard. The two founders of The PlumpJack Group are San Francisco’s former mayor Gavin Newsom and philanthropist, composer and entrepreneur Gordon Getty. John Conover who joined Plumpjack in 1999 is also a principal and is the General Manager. PlumpJack’s beginnings were in San Francisco; in 1992 former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom along with Gordon Getty opened a wine shop called PlumpJack Wines in the Fillmore District, featuring an excellent selection of both European wines, California wines, spirits and craft beer. This original store is still open to the public. Today they also operate a second smaller wine shop in Noe Valley.
Gordon Getty, Gavin Newsom and John Conover are owners of and business partners in Odette Estate.
Steltzner Winery operated here for many years with their original vineyards planted in 1965; the PlumpJack group purchased the winery and 45 acres of surrounding vineyards in early 2012. Odette Estate quickly began renovating the existing winery building which was overseen by architect Juan Carlos Fernandez (who also was the architect for Cade Winery). Since the construction of CADE, Juan Carlos has certainly left his imprint on Napa Valley with his own firm Signum Architecture. Signum has been responsible for designing BRAND, Melka, Sinegal, Nine Suns, Brasswood Winery and Covert among others.
In addition to the winery facility, Juan Carlo’s team designed a chic tasting room and salon and the prominent white fiberglass sculptures located on the south side of the winery next to the Silverado Trail. This sculpture mimics the Odette Estate logo and is referred to as the Three Ladies. It is quite prominent and certainly attracts the attention of passing motorists in either direction.
A number of vineyard acres were replanted following the purchase of the property; all the vines on the estate are farmed organically.
Like Plumpjack’s names for their other wineries and businesses, the name Odette was sourced from historical literary works, in this case from a character written about by Shakespeare which also made an appearance in Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Swan Lake. The name was chosen because of the wines that come from this part of Napa (Stags Leap District); it is a name that represents femininity, strength and power. In addition, coincidentally one of the judges in the famed Paris Tasting of 1976 was named Odette; one of the winning wines from this now historic tasting was from the Stags Leap District produced from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars – located slightly to the south of Odette Estate.
The Steltzners tunneled 18,000 square feet of caves into the nearby hillside which included an exit on the other side of the hill. The caves are still here but are not used to host visitors. Slightly to the north of the hospitality center is a state-of-the-art small winery tucked against the lower hillsides of the Vaca mountain range. This winery is one of only several in Napa Valley that feature a living roof with grasses and plants growing on top. Along with this vegetation, the roof also contains 2,500 square feet of solar cells. The winery is Gold LEED certified.
The lab contained within the winery is housed in one of the most unique environments of any lab in the valley. It is located inside old shipping containers that were purchased and remodeled from China. As a homage to their wine making team – the names of the primary team members each year are listed on the outside of one of these containers.
The focus of Odette Estate, as with wines from the other PlumpJack Group winery properties, is to produce balanced wines respective of their particular terroir. To craft wines with appealing texture – and that are ready to enjoy young but also have the characteristics to age. And to continuously strive to improve the quality every year. John Conover, Odette Estate’s General Manager told us he sits down with with their head winemaker every year and asks a simple but at the same time, difficult question, “what can we do to improve the wine”. This is not an easy answer considering they already set the bar very high and their wines have earned top accolades and scores from prominent wine writers over the years and they have a loyal following from their customers.
But it is a question that needs to be asked and encourages the wine making team to continue to improve their efforts each year.
Until their estate wines were released, Odette created Adaptation wines, a second label. These wines are all sourced from a variety of non estate vineyards and are poured in the tasting room. 2013 was the last vintage of their Chardonnay but several reds continue to be produced each year including a Petite Sirah and a Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2014 Odette Estate Adaptation Sauvignon Blanc is blended with smaller amounts of Sémillon, Viognier and a Sauvignon Musqué clone. An interesting variety of fermentation vessels were used on this wine including acacia oak, French oak, stainless steel and an additional blending within a concrete “egg”. This wine shows notes of citrus blossom, lemon-lime characteristics on the bouquet. It is lively and zesty on the palate with citrus characteristics along with excellent acidity.
The 2012 Odette Estate Adaption Cabernet Sauvignon smells wonderful in the glass – like a sweet desert with hints of cedar and blueberries. It is rounded on the entry, smooth on the palate showing both red and black fruit flavors (cherry, currant). The wine lingers nicely with notes of mocha and espresso.
The first wine from the property was the 2012 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatically this vintage shows a ripeness on the bouquet with both voluptuous fruit and dessert spices present. A faint underlying dustiness shows along with hints of cedar. The richness of fruit on the bouquet continues on the palate – the tannins are fairly soft and delicate and are well integrated within the wine – slightly chalky in nature lingering on the sides and on the back of the palate. While this wine is over 15% alcohol there is surprisingly good acidity (that we don’t often experience in higher alcohol wines from Napa) that is fairly evident towards the finish.
The 2017 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District. Dark red in the glass – almost maroon with purplish tinges around the rim. Offers aromas of ripe blackberry with a kiss of mocha – which is more subtle and in the background as the wine opens. The texture is a highly appealing characteristic of this wine – seamless with a softness – almost a slight creaminess across the palate with chalky finely dispersed tannins. Flavors include ripe blackberry. Very supple finish. Dusty. Long lasting flavor. A wine that is highly enjoyable by itself.
The winery offers several different options for visitors including a private tour and tasting in the modern and elegantly decorated Estate Lounge (located in a separate building to the rear of the primary tasting room). This lounge offers excellent views of their nearby vineyards facilitated in part by large windows and a rotating giant door that swivels open. Odette Estate also offers a three-course meal in the Estate Lounge paired with some of their wines.
And for those looking for the ultimate Plumpjack, Cade & Odette wine tasting the Anthology Tasting offers select wines from all four of their properties. John Conover offered the following insight into this particular tasting, “if you are not a believer in terroir you will certainly be so after trying the wines from these three distinctive properties”.
And for those interested in holding private social or corporate events – one can rent the property – often for private dinners. Odette Estate often holds a number of events and parties for their own wine members.
For more information, to schedule a visit or to join one of several tiers in their wine club, visit: www.odetteestate.com