Oda al Vino and Am are Chilean wine brands owned by St. Stephen Organic Vineyards, which is co-located in Chile’s Colchagua Valley and San Jose, California. St. Stephen produces only organic wines and is so devoted to sustainability that it recently addressed the United Nations Climate Change Division on the matter.
We tried the most recent releases of St. Stephen’s three varietal wines. Thoughts follow.
2016 Am Malbec Reserva Curico Valley – Soft at first, with a silky blueberry character, the wine quickly finds room for the trademark pepper and spice of malbec, with notes of blackcurrant and milk chocolate emerging as the finish arrives. The wine never quite develops the gravity of some of the best malbecs from Argentina, but at this price, it’s at least approachable and lively enough for happy hour. B / $22
2017 Oda al Vino Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Colchagua Valley – Decidedly fruit-forward, this cab melds bright red fruit — strawberries, some raspberry, and some cherry notes — with hints of dark chocolate and licorice. Lightly tannic but reasonably well balanced, the wine’s finish folds in a touch of pepper and an echo of roasted meats. Solid for the price. B+ / $24
2017 Oda al Vino Carmenere Reserva Colchagua Valley – That trademark meatiness is here, alongside a pungent herbal character that evokes slow-roasted lamb shanks. Notes of eucalyptus and rosemary are twin powerhouses as the palate develops. It’s a curious wine, but one which demands the proper pairing. B / $24