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Founded in 2003 by Michael Alfasi and his sons Adam and Yishai, the Odem Mountain Winery is Israel's northernmost winery. Nestled in the heart of an oak forest near Moshav Odem, 1,100 meters above sea level, this family-run establishment was presented with the best boutique winery award at the Israwinexpo 2006 exhibition.
The quality of the wine produced at the Odem Mountain winery is drawn from the natural vine-growing conditions of the Golan Heights region. The vines benefit from snowy winter days for their awakening at the growing season followed by the typical sun-flooded days and chilly nights of Israeli summers. This is a winning combination for a perfect, quality ripening of the grapes.
30,000 bottles are produced annually in three series: Volcanic, Nimrod and Odem Mountain. The winery has now released two new wines:
Odem Mountain, Merlot 2004:
100% Merlot from Sha'al vineyard planted in 1997 on well-drained volcanic soil on the northern slopes of the Golan Heights. This rich, full-bodied wine has hints of red berry fruit, ripe plum and oak on the nose. Well-balanced, with firm tannins, it has a generous mouth feel and lingering aftertaste. NIS 105 (not kosher)
Volcanic, Chardonnay, 2005:
This bold wine is big on aroma and flavors, combining pear and honey nose with zesty citrus and ripe tropical fruit on the palate. Well balanced, the soft, buttery character - from barrel maturation - adds to the complexity and roundness of the wine. NIS 55 (not kosher)
The Ella Valley winery is also presenting two new releases:
Cabernet Syrah 2004:
Winemaker Doron Rav-Hon continues to craft some of Israel's most enjoyable Cabernet blends. With 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah, this elegant wine offers rich aromas of ripe cherry and blackberry, nicely accompanied by notes of coffee and dark chocolate. On the palate there are notes of plum and oak. The lingering finish is framed with vanilla and spice. NIS 118 (kosher)
Sauvignon Blanc 2005:
This is the winery's first release from the 2005 harvest.
Aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit and tropical fruits are the classics for this white varietal. On the palate the wine is both crisp and rich, finding a balance of body and bold citrus flavors. For NIS 65 it's a little pricey, but worth the expense. (kosher)
The Carmel winery expands its Regional Series with a bright new red:
Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, Upper Galilee, 2004:
The blend of these two noble grapes belongs to new world wines, says Lior Lexer, who won two gold medals for this rich and flavorful wine. It has layers of red fruits and spicy aromas of fresh herbs. It shows good concentration on the palate and has good balance, concentration and will probably improve with time in the bottle. NIS 58 (kosher)