2013 Odette Estate vs. 2013 Odette Reserve

It’s said that one doesn’t need a special occasion to crack open a special bottle of wine, and it seemed like a normal weekend day was the perfect time to finally try a comparative tasting of the 2013 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon versus the 2013 Odette Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

As Odette Pursuit Society members, we have our (required) allotted purchase of a half case of the reserve wine. I probably shouldn’t admit how much of the Estate cab we have (it’s one of our favorites).

So how much “better” was the Reserve? Not that much, especially considering the price difference between the two.


My instant observation as soon as the wines hit the glass was the decidedly different nose on the two. The Reserve had a big, fruity scent while the Estate had much more detectable oak. Both had a phenomenal nose and I noticed as the wines sat in the glass, the difference became even more noticeable. Chocolate, blueberry, and a slightly floral scent gave way to two rich, full bodied wines. The nose on the Reserve won this contest hands down.

The taste was distinctly different too. The Estate had a nice vanilla oak taste but the Reserve was just pure fruit forward goodness. It was like drinking fresh fruit and was more than just slightly better. Interestingly enough, while at first the taste of the wines was completely distinguishable, this diminished after the first 30 minutes. An hour later, the flavors more closely mirrored each other and I couldn’t tell a noticeable difference between the two wines nose-wise.

These are both expertly crafted, delicious, and very elegant wines. You really can’t go wrong with either, but the price difference makes me think that your mileage may vary when determining the cost to worth ratio.

The 2013 Estate is $126 a bottle while the reserve, at least upon initial release, was priced at $300. Now the Reserve is selling at auction and commands prices ranging from $385 to $600 per bottle.

Odette’s continuously high ratings from Robert Parker aren’t helping soften the already high prices. Remember that Parker lauded the 2013 Reserve with a 99 point score and called it a wine that was “flirting with perfection in a real serious way,” while the 2013 Estate garnered a 95+ point score.

I know many people drink wines based on scores, but I call hogwash. Nobody has the same palate and you shouldn’t decide what you purchase and drink based on somebody else’s’ taste buds, but these are two seriously elegant and delicious wines and are perfect examples of why I adore Napa Cabernet.

Odette produces and releases only an extremely limited amount of its Reserve wines so my advice is that if you can get your hands on a bottle or two, do it.



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