Har Odem (Odem Mountain) Organic Merlot 2007

I picked up this bottle in a wine shop opposite the Davidka in Yerushalayim. They seem to be trying to push a lot of Ella Valley and Teperberg wines, both of which I have not been particularly impressed with. I popped in on the off chance that they had a bottle of Har Odem Chardonnay.
The owner apologised and said that he hadn’t but he did have some Har Odem wines somewhere at the back. He shuffled a few bottles around on a shelf and came back with a dusty bottle of Har Odem Organic Merlot 2007 and a bottle of Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. He informed me that both bottles were NIS 80 which is in fact the price I paid for the 2009 vintages at the wineries.
I tell you something. Had I not already tried the 2009 and loved it so much and then been offered such a good price in this shop,  I would never have bought this wine.  It has a simply hideous label that looks like something out of the 1930s. I expected to see a price in old British shillings.

The word VOLCANIC is emblazoned on the label in some really old fashioned looking font and makes it look like a bottle of miracle cure snake oil or something.
Organic Merlot 2007
Somebody must have given them some good advice as the new style label is so much better. The wine was aged for at least 10 months and I suspect they used previously used French casks.
Organic Merlot 2009

Tasting notes:
We opened the bottle for second night Rosh Hashana Kiddush .

For first night’s Kiddush Rosh Hashana we were taking no chances on a wine we had not opened before so after a short discussion with my daughter, we decided on a Golan Heights Yarden Pinot Noir 2006 which we had bought at the winery last Chol HaMoed Sukkos and kept in our small wine cooler ever since. It was superb but this review is not about the Pinot Noir.
For second day Rosh Hashana I wanted to open something which was more adventurous in order to put some zest into the second night’s Kiddush. Israelis are not used to second day Yom Tov so Rosh Hashana can be a challenge sometimes to make it fresh and properly deserved of that Shehekionu brocha! The Har Odem Organic Merlot fitted the bill perfectly with its aura of mystery.
Unlike Friday night, we sit for Yom Tov Kiddush as there is no inyan of eidus. In fact it is preferable to sit as the ika mitzvah is “Kiddush beMakom Seudah” and you don’t stand at the table when eating your seuda do you! In fact, “Shemiras Shabbos KeHilchato” (47:28 see footnote 135) tells us that even if Leil HaSeder falls on Friday night Shabbos, one should sit!
However there is always an exception to the rule and that exception for us is Rosh Hashana. I don’t feel comfortable saying the Rosh Hashana Kiddush sitting down in a casual manner. I prefer to say the Kiddush standing up in a more formal respectful way and sit just after the Shehekionu bracha (and before drinking).
On Rosh Hashana, you must take care that everything is as perfect as you can possibly make it. The King of Kings has come for His annual visit, to spend some quality time with His Chosen and beloved people but also to judge us for the coming year. We must make sure that we show Him how happy we are to be one of His Royal and loyal subjects. Consequently we must conduct ourselves to the best of our ability. Indeed, Rosh Hashana is the only occasion where I absolutely insist on wearing a suit and hat. Likewise, a greater effort should be made on Rosh Hashana to say Kiddush slowly, pronouncing correctly every word, savouring their meaning and conducting oneself with splendour and Regal majesty. The words of Kiddush concluded, one must sit and drink the wine with poise.

It is in this environment that we tasted this particular Merlot for the first time.
This wine is very different to its 2009 younger sister. The central characteristic of the Merlot 2009 was its mineral pebble watery medium weight taste.
There was a slight taste of minerals and pebbles in the 2007 but I’m not sure I would have noticed this had I not been expecting it from experience of previous drunk Har Odem wines.
This wine has aged well in the bottle. Colour was a very rich black grand ruby/purple/red.
The viscosity seemed thicker than the 2009 merlot and hinted at a greater alcohol content. There was just a hint of musky wood but this was mixed and overpowered by a sweet rich ripe fruit aroma. The overall impression was tantalizing.
Tasting was a pure delight from beginning to end. I swirled the wine around in my mouth to make sure that all my taste buds had a fair share of this nectar.  Rich, medium to heavy ripened forest fruits served in an old wooden bowl and spoon. There were dry spices and mineral notes and very subtle smoke.
Finish was fruity sweet and full bodied with no signs of bitter tannins having had four years to settle down and mature in the bottle.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their Kiddush wine. Isn’t it amazing how different wines based on the same grape can be? The Ramat HaGolan Yarden Merlot, Dalton Reserve Merlot and Har Odem Organic are all superb wines but so diverse in character, smell and taste.
At NIS 80, the Har Odem Orgaanic Merlot 2007 is definitely one to drink again. There can’t be many of these bottles left. If you find one then buy it and drink it now. It’s perfect at its current age.


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