Odem Mountain Winery

#117 – February 19, 2010

This week I wanted to introduce you to another Israeli – the Odem Mountain Winery. The Odem winery was started in 2003 and the first kosher vintage was that of 2007. The winery, located within a gorgeous forest with incredible views on Moshev Odem in the Golan Heights, is owned and run by the Alfasi family. While they grow most of their own grapes (including some from organic vineyards) they do source some of their grapes from other vineyards. Current production is approximately 70,000 bottles with wines produced in three series – Alfasi – the flagship wine, Odem Mountain and Volcanic (presumably named after the grape-friendly volcanic soil in which much of the winery’s grapes are grown). The winery used to produce wines under the “Nimrod” label wine and seem to still be using the “Reserve” label occasionally. As with many Israeli wineries, the over abundance of labels can be confusing at times.

One of the things I like about Odem is that the Odem Mountain label provides pretty good QPR (at least in Israel) and they seem to have a distinct style making them stand out from many other Israeli wines and wineries. While you may like or dislike their style of wines, I think having a style of your own indicates independence and a desire to be true to ones winemaking philosophy rather than being completely bound to what the market wants. I have listed some of the 2007 wines I recently has the opportunity to enjoy.

Odem Mountain, Alfasi, 2007: A full bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that was aged for quite a bit in oak. Fortunately, the oak has contributed to the good body and structure of the wine as well as pleasant hints of spices without making itself felt too strongly or leaving a taste of toothpicks in your mouth. Lots of black forest fruit on the nose without overpowering, that including raspberries, black cherries and blackberries. A continuing overlay of freshly cracked black pepper, spices and vanilla carry through to the medium finish that caresses. While drinking nicely now I think the wine will continue to develop in the bottle over the next year or so and should be good for another 4-5 years in your cellar.

Odem Mountain, Odem Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007: As with the Alfasi, the oak aging shows through with spices and wood on both the nose and palate but in a good way. While the nose has the typical black forest fruit the palate shows the winemaker’s individualistic style so different from your traditional Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon – very enjoyable and drinkable right now.

Odem Mountain, Odem Mountain, Merlot, 2007: Recent vintages in Israel seem to be treating Merlot exceedingly well and this wine is no exception. Deep, brooding and richer than one might expect from the grape, this full bodied wine has lots of good fruit and spices on both the nose and palate. A velvety finish rounds out this plush wine – extremely enjoyable and highly recommended.

Odem Mountain, Volcanic, Chardonnay, 2007: The only wine produced under the Volcanic line that I have truly enjoyed so far. Lots of citrus, vanilla, buttery fruits, cantaloupe and some apples on the nose and palate, its 15% alcohol might be a little much for some folks as it does make its presence known from the start. Plenty of good cutting acidity keeps the abundance of fruit from weighing the wine down and keeps pace with the fruit and vanilla throughout. Give the wine a couple minutes in your glass and both some of the alcoholic “hotness’ and acidity will calm down making for an even more pleasant drinking experience all the way to the long finish packed with gentle spices.