Three New Releases from Odem Mountain Winery

By: Daniel Rogov

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By: Daniel Rogov

This early afternoon (Wednesday, 26 Nov 2008) I attended the unveiling of three new releases from the Odem Mountain Winery. Founded by the Alfasi family in 2003, the winery is situated in a modern facility on Moshav Odem in the northern Golan Heights. It relies primarily on grapes grown in its own vineyards?one of which is organic?supplemented by grapes from other vineyards on the Golan, in the Upper Galilee and in the Judean Hills. Currently producing wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc and CHardonnay, the winery is considering future releases of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Production from 2004-2007 was about 30,000 bottles annually and 50,000 bottles from the 2007 vintage. The wines will be kosher starting with the 2007 vintage. The top-of-the-line series are Alfasi and Reserve, the mid-range series are Nimrod and Odem Mountain, and there is a special label, Volcanic, for wines made from organic grapes.

My thanks to those members of the Alfasi family who came to the tasting which was hosted at Tel Aviv’s Trackline (pronounce that Traqleen). My tasting notes for the wines follow.


Odem Mountain, Alfasi, 2005: A medium- to full-bodied blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, not showing quite as well as during barrel tastings and now reflecting its development in French oak barriques for 24 months with a somewhat heavy overlay of spicy and dusty cedar wood. Still gripping tannins are waiting to settle in, and the wine opens slowly in the glass to reveal an array of currant and berry fruits, those complimented by notes of Mediterranean herbs, green olives and bitter-sweet chocolate. Still very closed in magnum format bottles but starting to open nicely in regular format. Best starting 2009. NIS 250. Score 89. (Re-tasted three times with consistent notes 26 Nov 2008)

Odem Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2006: Dark garnet towards royal purple in color, made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, medium- to full-bodied, and oak-aged for 15 months. Opens with a low but appealing fruity and floral nose. Goes on to show blackcurrants and purple plums, those matched nicely by hints of spicy and vanilla-rich wood. Tannins and alcohol rise together on the finish but given a bit more bottle time this may well vanish and give way to hints of raspberries and cranberries. Best from 2010. NIS 125. Score 88. (Tasted 26 Nov 2008)

Odem Mountain, Merlot, Reserve, 2006: Aged in new French barriques for 15 months, dark ruby towards garnet, showing blueberries and black cherries on first attack, those yielding comfortably to notes of licorice and near-sweet tobacco. Long and generous. Drink now-2011. NIS 125. Score 89. (Tasted 26 Nov 2008)

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