That’s perhaps, a bit of a bold statement to use as the title of this report of the Tasting of the 2008 vintage of Odem Mountain Winery’s Syrah Reserve (or, as they call it “Sirah” on the label in the above photograph). And, of course, we haven’t even tasted all the wines that Israel has to offer. But at least this one ranks up there with the better wines of any variety and blend that we have had the pleasure to drink. After our tasting last night AND after deciding on the title of this article, I did a bit of a web search and found that others, too, have lauded the qualities of this wine. This includes Daniel Rogov, of blessed memory, the dean of Israeli writers/critics. In his tasting notes of Odem Winery wines back in 2010, he stated that it was, “Dark garnet towards royal purple, a concentrated and full-bodied wine with its once firm tannins now integrating nicely with notes of vanilla and cinnamon from the barriques in which it aged. On the nose and palate plums, wild berries, cassis and, on the long finish with tannins rising appealing notes of anise and leather. Deep, long and complex.” He awarded it a score of 91 which was the highest of his ratings of their wines in his tasting and equaled only by their 220 shekel Alfasi blend. At that time, he said it cost 90 shekels, however, more recently others have said that it cost them 65 shekels. Six months ago, Gabe Geller, who writes frequently on the WineLovers Discussion Group, called it “one of the best Shiraz thus far” and detailed that, “smoked meat and plums on the nose, and on the palate hints of oak together again with the smoked meat and the plums were there too, followed by red cherries and crushed spices all of that in fine balance with a moderate acidity and a long smooth finish.”
We think that its sojourn in French oak for 18 months was just perfect, allowing it to impart to us a nose of mint chocolate cake with a hint of burnt woody charcoals. In the mouth it is most definitely rich and has a full velvety body and tastes of blueberries, melon, oregano and a long, pleasant, puckery, peppery finish. I don’t remember what we paid for it, but, assuming that it was in the lower range of the above quoted prices, 65 shekels (equivalent to under $10), it was awarded an israelwinetaster grade of A+. I will find what it costs at the winery and write an addendum to this report.
ATTENTION !!! HERE’S THE ADDENDUM There really are two Odem Mountain wines of the same varietal. The first one they call Shiraz Volcani and it costs 90 shekels at the winery. The one about which we are reporting in this article actually sells there for 180 shekels. I am therefore downgrading it to a B+ as I do not think that it should demand such a high price. YES, IT IS GOOD, but that’s almost $50 and in my opinion, overpriced.