2022 Therianthropy “Odi-X” Zweigelt – Dornfelder, Short Hills Bench VQA , Ontario (Alcohol 11.1%, Residual Sugar 1.4 g/l) Website $27.95 (750ml bottle)

My good friends know that I’m just a sucker for a pretty (clever) face (label), and this new release from Therianthropy takes the proverbial biscuit. When a designer has the wit to combine an iconic album cover from the late, great Prince with the Therianthropy Shaman DJ Odi-X who’s “uplifting grooves are here to take you out of your head and back into your flow,” I’m already asking them to just take my money. Genius.

Now, of course, looks aside, the wine has to be pretty good too, and this vintage is even better than last year’s 2021 Odi-X, although to call them the same wine would be a little misleading, as the 2002 Zweigelt fruit is augmented by a healthy 46% Dornfelder.

I’ll admit here that I’m always a little surprised to hear that there are still Dornfelder vines in the ground in Ontario, as I was under the impression that most of those plantings had been ripped out. Seeing that we still have some Dornfelder always brings a smile to my face. With this particular wine, I feel that the Dornfelder brings some darker hues, a lovely velvety texture, and additional florality to what was already a most enjoyable glass of wine.

Spot the difference?


The fruit is once again drawn from the clay loams of the Glenview vineyard in the Short Hills Bench sub-appellation. Both Zweigelt and Dornfelder have a tendency to crop pretty heavily if allowed, but here the yields are kept down to around 1.5 tonnes per acre, concentrating the flavours and aromatics and bringing out the very best of what both grapes have to offer.

I feel it’s important to note that both grapes are co-fermented, with 50% being whole cluster. After a two-day cold soak, the wine is fermented for eight days on skins and then two days off skins in a ceramic egg. Ever-so-gentle punchdowns and pump-overs help keep the cap moist and slowly extract the character without bringing too much astringency. Ageing takes place in the ceramic egg for a further seven months with no stirring of the fine lees.

The resultant wine is a thrillingly aromatic one, with loads of black and blue berry fruit alongside a delicate, pretty, perfumed violet floral element, and a decidedly feral, sauvage, forest-floor, underbrush notes with a wonderful smokey pepperiness.

The palate is driven by juicy, rasping acidity in the crunchy cranberry and almost-ripe raspberry style. Even as a lighter wine, it is texturally mouthfilling and satisfying, and that extended tart fruit finish cleanses the palate and readies youfor the next glass.

And before you know it, the bottle is gone. Damn.

When I originally reviewed the 2021 Odi-X, I spoke of its eminent crushability, and that still holds true for the 2022, but I sense quite a bit more depth of flavour and complexity in this edition. Serve nicely chilled and allow to warm up in the glass.

(four and a half out of a possible five apples)