Wine of the Week: HŌM is where Robert Eden’s heart is

Lately, the term “sustainability” has been thrown around so casually that I fear that it may very well lose its important impact on the consumer. But for Robert Eden, sustainability is a true commitment that guides both his lifestyle and his wine philosophy.

He evaluates the significance of each of his actions on the environment, both near and far. And he honors his commitment to the planet while making HŌM wines, a brand he developed a few years ago that uses only organically farmed fruit from vineyards he manages in Spain.

HŌM is an acronym that stands for Heart of Many. As a renowned biodynamic winemaker, Eden is not just interested in making exceptional wines, but he’s also committed to protecting the people who work in the vineyards, as well as the consumers who drink his wines, from harmful pesticides and chemicals that are occasionally used by large-production wineries. In addition, by using certified organic growing practices, the soils in the vineyards are naturally healthier.

Robert’s road to organic and biodynamic farming is an interesting one. He is, for lack of a better word, of aristocratic descent. His uncle, Sir Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, was a British politician who served three periods as foreign secretary and then as prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Young Robert was not as inclined to follow in the noble footsteps of his uncle. After a few — um — misadventures during his youth, Robert was exported to Australia, once Great Britain’s penal colony, where he fell in love with winemaking. His thirst for knowledge has taken him from Australia to Italy, Burgundy, Spain and California, where he has worked with some of the top winemakers in the world. In 1994, he put down roots in France and in 1997 converted the viticultural program at Chateau Maris into organic and biodynamic vineyards.

He has even put his commitment to the environment into his winery, literally, building the first cellar made from hemp that passively consumes carbon dioxide. Best of all, his wines are really, really good. For Robert, HŌM is not just were his heart is, it’s what he puts his heart into.

A lot of Sauvignon Blanc wines tend to be too grassy or too fruity, but the 2018 HŌM Sauvignon Blanc is neither. It’s just good. The bouquet is packed with fragrant citrus blossom and grapefruit on the nose. The palate also features a healthy dose of juicy grapefruit notes but is buoyed by the addition of passion fruit and honeydew melon. The crisp, bright finish would do grilled scallops justice. $16

The 2018 HŌM Chardonnay is a very different expression of the variety than found in domestic versions. It features tangy green apple, ripe apricot and fresh peach flavors layered on top of a bright, clean frame that allows the fruit to shine. Hints of Myer lemon, mango and citrus zest enhance the delightful finish. $16

While HŌM may stand for the Heart of Many, the 2018 HŌM Cabernet Sauvignon spoke to me personally. Made from organic grapes grown in Spain, the wine sports aromas of blackberry, dark licorice and floral violets. It is medium-bodied with enough structure to hold the bold flavors of blackberry, dark cherry and smoked meats together on a frame that is supported by soft tannins and accented by cocoa and licorice notes on the long, supple finish. $16

I would be remiss if I did not slip in one wine from Robert’s famed property in the Languedoc region located in southern France. His 2016 Chateau Maris La Touge is a wonderful value. Made from a blend of 70 percent Syrah and 30 percent Grenache, this wine is easy to drink yet remarkably versatile. Beautiful scents of dark plum and black raspberry shine on the impressive nose. Concentrated flavors of black cherry, ripe black plum and black olives blend seamlessly over the entire palate while notes of black pepper accent the luscious finish. I would enjoy pairing this with lamb. $20

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