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Zarpara Vineyards, on the heart of the Willcox Bench, is one of my favorite vineyards. It has been well known for a while when it comes to producing really great wines, but they are vintages which are difficult for me to get ahold of here in my mountaintop lair.  I picked up this bottle way back in January during the AWGA awards Gala and wine festival.  I was craving Tempranillo this week, especially considering the recipe I was planning, and I remembered the 2013 Odisea being quite good when I tasted it at the festival… so I decided to crack my bottle open.

2013 Odisea

The 2013 Odisea against a wine-dark sky. Homer the Poet would be proud.

The Wine: As one might expect from a Vineyard who’s name comes from the Spanish word for “set sail,” the name of the 2013 Odisea is a nautical theme: derived from the second of Homer’s epic tales. This wine is a blend of 65% Tempranillo, 25% Syrah, and 10% Garnacha, from the Zarpara estate vineyard in the Willcox AVA.  The Tempranillo in this blend was on the skins for 21 days. Then, it was aged in new American (Appalachian) oak for about 6 months, while the rest of the time was spent in neutral oak, with a total of 20 months in barrel. The Syrah and Grenache in this blend were both aged in neutral oak. 65 cases were produced, and at 14.5%, this wine is pretty big.  The 2013 Odisea is a rich, deep, ruby-red.

The Nose: When the bottle is first opened, prior to decanting, this wine opens with notes of coffee, chocolate, petrichor, and plum, with hints of lilac, lavender, and frankincense.  After a two hour decant, the floral notes on the nose fade, and notes of nutmeg, star anise, plum, cassis, and eucalyptus emerge, intermingling with the earlier notes I mentioned, along with that classic Willcox dust.

The Palate: Prior to decanting, the 2013 Odisea opens with notes of vanilla, cedar, plum, and cherry, with hints of rosemary and dust. There are a hefty dose of tannins to be found on the palate as well, and the acidity in this full-bodied red wine is pretty high.  Early in the game, the finish has notes of rosemary, cherry, lavender, and dust, lasting for only 28 seconds.  After a two hour decant, additional notes of cinnamon, eucalyptus, nutmeg, lilac, and coffee emerge on the palate, and the finish lasts for 41 seconds. After an extended decant (open for a day), additional notes of Cavendish tobacco, dark chocolate, and coffee emerge, intermingling with all the aforementioned characteristics, and the finish lasts for a full minute.

The Pairing: I paired the 2013 Odisea with a pork roast I made in my crockpot, with green chiles, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and potatoes, and it worked beautifully.  Any sort of Spanish-style pork dish will work well with this wine, as that is the traditional pairing for Tempranillo-based vintages in general.  It is big enough to work with steak, or roasted mushrooms.  Heavy, vegetarian-themed Mexican food would also work really well with this wine.

Impressions: If you try to drink this wine without decanting, you’re going to have a bad time; it’s still good, but more one dimensional at that time. The 2013 Odisea needs at least a two hour decant to really shine forth, or an aerator.  In fact, I felt this wine was at its best after being open for almost two full days.  Patience is going to be your friend with this bottle.  Savor it, slowly.  I would even recommend cellaring this bottle for at least another three years, if not more.

I would even recommend cellaring this bottle for at least another three years, if not more. But your patience will be immensely rewarded, and if you love Tempranillo (especially vintages coming from Ribero del Duero rather than Rioja), this wine is NOT to be missed. While I don’t normally place value judgments on the wines I drink publically in this blog, I’d rank the 2013 Odisea as among the top 4 Tempranillo vintages currently being offered in the state.

The 2013 Odisea wears a bright red dress that hugs her curves, revealing a tattoo on her back shoulders in Sanskrit. She likes singing opera, sea-shanties, and Homer in its original Greek Hexameters.  She carries a knife inlaid with mother-of-pearl and turquoise.  She’s difficult to get to know, but once you do, she’s a lot of fun to hang out with.

2013 Odisea

Another shot of the 2013 Odisea against a monsoon rainbow.