Several weeks back I was invited to attend an Odfjell luncheon and tasting by a dear friend Erica. She knows I’m new to the NY wine scene and very kindly brought me along for what was a really delicious and memorable lunch at Quality Meats hosted by the winery and their importer, Foley Family Vines.
Originally we thought it would be a casual tasting, but in a lucky surprise turn of events it was a sit down luncheon and vertical.
Arnaud Hereu, French, is the head winemaker at Odfjell and the man responsible for escalating quality in these old vine Carignan wines from Chile. Above: Erica, Arnaud, Alan Crawford of Foley Family Wines.
Odfjell was the first to begin bottling single-varietal Carignan and was one of the founding wineries in “Vigno,” a trade organization which hopes to bring international attention to this awesome yet oft forgotten about vine. Each member must use vines more than 100 years old and conform to strict standards to call themselves a member. They are 20 members deep and show no sign of slowing down. Go Chile, go!
The style of the Orzada cuvee we tasted evolved from one of new oak and some blending to one of 100% old vine (100+ years only!) Carignan with no wood at all.
the bretty but delicious 2001 (15% Cabernet Sauvignon)
extracted Michel Rolland in style 2004
creamy and red fruited 2006
dark, sour, and structured 2010
and 100% stainless steel- Carignan funky, pure fruited 2014- a star and a clear indication of grape, place, and where the winery hopes to continue to go.
“Carignan should be great and acid,” – Arnaud.
Since the wines are completely made in stainless steel now, they undergo very slow and careful microxygenation so as not to get too reductive. This also helps to stabilize color and tannin.
We also got a taste of the 2010 Altara which is the top cuvee. Blue and black fruits, perfumed and broody, a touch austere yet with great length. This was just a baby and worked well with the delicious filet mignon.
I should also give a shout out to the corn creme brulee. Ben, my boss, informs me this is nothing new, but I had never seen it before and cleaned the table of it. Deeelicious.