A Visit to Odem Mountain Winery and a Tasting of their Volcanic Cabernet Sauvignon

The Odem Mountain Winery is the northernmost winery in Israel. It is located on Moshav Odem, in the foothills of Mount Hermon, the tallest peak on the Golan Heights where Israelis go for downhill skiing. The basalt type soil derived from volcanoes of long ago is the source of the name of the series of wines called Volcanic. This is a step down from their “flagship” series called Alfasi, the family name of the family which produce these wines. Their wines are based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc, with production for the 2008 vintage was about 75,000 bottles and from the 2009 vintage about 85,000. The former label of Nimrod is no longer produced. The wines have been kosher since the 2007 vintage.

We have been there twice and enjoyed both visits to their tasting room hosted by Ishai.

The first time we drove up was in a dense fog, barely able to see 50 meters ahead. Boy was that scary! It was cold outside, but we were warmed my the wonderful people in addition to the temperature inside. We especially enjoyed their Chardonnay and port style wine that they call Shani, but today at home we tasted their Volcanic Cabernet Sauvignon, a real treat.

This wine from 2007 was unusual compared to other Cabernet Sauvignon varietals from Israel which tend to be very big and strong with sometimes overwhelming aromas and tastes. The 2007 Volcanic Cabernet Sauvignon from Odem is much more gentle, quiet and unassuming. It doesn’t jump on you and hit you over the head. Rather it gently hugs and cuddles you. Nurit described this dry wine as having “sensitive sweetness” and aromas of a trout stream. The nose is tickled by a certain smokiness. It tastes like a fruity salad with a hint of blackberries and petel. There is a minimum of positive bitterness and minimal tannins balanced with sweetness. The “finish” or aftertaste is long and pleasant, well worth concentrating on after you swallow the wine and before continuing to eat your meal. Incidentally, Daniel Rogov gave the 2008 version a grade of 90 which is quite high.

I apologize that I cannot report the price we paid, but we purchased this wine long before this blog was started. It seems that KosherWine.com lists the 2009 for $24 and if this is anywhere near the quality of the 2007, it is worth the price, as we gave this a wine grade

of A- with the minus only because I think that it has matured and probably won’t stand longer storage, even under ideal wine cellar conditions. That remind me, I have to start a new series of posts about some basic principles of wine storage and tasting. Oh, there is so much to do and so little time to do them. For now, enjoy your israelwinetasting — L’Chaim.

Papa Alfasi in the Wine Cask Storage Room of his Odem Mountain Winery

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2 thoughts on “A Visit to Odem Mountain Winery and a Tasting of their Volcanic Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. Great little winery! Friendly and homey with some really nice and distinctive wines. The cab sav was my favorite but i bought the chardonnay as well and would buy both again definitely.

  2. Thanks for the “right on” comment, not to mention not to mention the beautiful setting as the most northern winery in Israel located at the foot of Mt. Hermon.

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