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oddity-wine-3

oDDity Wine CollectiVe’s first white release: 2015 Changeling; a blend of Riesling and Viognier.

Sometimes I get the uneasy feeling that my friends in the wine industry are a lot more successful than I am. I don’t really mind this; winemaking is hard work, after all, and I’m not quite ready to make that plunge yet. But for my friends Aaron Weiss, Briana Nation, and David Baird of the newly-formed oDDity Wine CollectiVe, former graduates of the Southwest Wine Center, the timing was perfect. On November 4th, they are releasing their first three vintages at Four-Eight Wineworks, in Clarkdale. Devoted in their manifesto to “push[ing] the boundaries of the expected, and to experiment as much as our tiny budget will allow,” these first three vintages are decidedly unique takes on Arizona wine. All three of their releases deserve closer examinations, (and I deeply encourage you to drink them all) but since I only have room to talk about one right now, and Thanksgiving is coming, we’re going to focus on The Changeling.

The Changeling is a 2015 vintage blend of 76% riesling and 24% viognier; in fact, the name of this wine partly comes from the “ling” in riesling. This wine was made from the very first fruit that the trio received. The viognier came from Rolling View Vineyards, while the riesling came from Al Buhl Memorial Vineyards, making this wine 100% Willcox AVA fruit. This wine was made from the very first fruit that the trio received. The riesling comes from some of the oldest vineyards in the state. The viognier was de-stemmed prior to crushing and pressing, and fermented in a neutral French oak barrel. The resulting wine was blended with the riesling in tank after fermentation. In fact, Aaron describes the rapid fermentation of the viognier in barrel as their first “Oh crap, what are we doing?” moment. (The answer, in case you are wondering, is “making an absolutely lovely wine,” as far as I’m concerned.) The wine is a beautiful pale yellow-green in the glass.

The nose on this wine begins with a delicate side, opening with intense floral notes of iris, violets, orange blossoms, and roses, imparted from both grapes in the blend. After swirling the wine in the glass, notes of key lime, apricot, and peach emerge from the glass. The barrel-fermentation of the viognier in this blend also adds a lovely light vanilla and limestone bass note, through which all the other aromas playfully intermingle. On the palate, The Changeling continues to be novel and intriguing, and is quite fruit-forward. The wine opens with notes of kiwi, key lime, peach, and apricot, with floral notes of violet and rose. This vintage is light, with a silky-smooth mouth feel. A nice kiss of acidity rounds out the palate. The finish of this wine lasts for 46 seconds, and is filled with notes of limestone, apricot, key lime and rose.

One of the reasons why The Changeling is so neat in my perspective is that I would never have thought about blending these two grapes together. The result is a fascinating, easy-going white blend that is going to be great for your Thanksgiving meal, whether you approach it from a turkey tradition, or a vegan perspective. Your family and in-laws who prefer the sweeter side will also enjoy this wine due to its fruit-forward palate, which will not leave your mouth as dry as Arizona in June. Be sure to grab your bottle at Four-Eight Wineworks starting November 4th. The release party promises to be a lot of fun, so endeavor to be there. Also make sure to check out their other two wines which are both red blends: the SGZ and Unsanctioned. I look forward with great joy to seeing what this new label will produce!  (And be sure to listen to the podcast I recorded with The oDDity Wine CollectiVe team as well!)

EDIT: Sam Pillsbury reports that his Wildchild White blend is also similar, with Riesling and Viognier blended together.  It’s been a while since I tasted it, but I think it would be fun to compare the two!