Barkan Reserve

The Barkan Winery Reserve label offers a selection of fine and interesting wines that go beyond the traditional Cabernet or Merlot. Yonatan Sternberg explores the newest release, Petit Verdot Reserve 2008, and a few others for your drinking pleasure.

A few weeks ago the Barkan Winery officially released the latest red wine of the winery's reserve label: the Petit Verdot, Reserve, 2008. Over the past few years, Barkan's Reserve label has offered very enjoyable, elegant red and white wines, and aside from the familiar Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, the series also included a very food-friendly Pinotage, an interesting Carignan and others.

Headed by veteran winemaker Ed Salzburg, the Barkan team also includes winemakers Yotam Sharon and Irit Boxer-Shank, who work together to constantly improve the quality of the wines produced by Barkan. Any time I hear Shmuel Boxer, Barkan's CEO speak; I am genuinely impressed by the constant level of investment and dedication both in technology as well as in new vineyard plantings. The Tempo beverage consortium owns Barkan, as well as the Segal, winery and the massive financial and logistical backing is clearly bearing fruits. Barkan's Altitude label has received recognition both in Israel and abroad and the Superior label, particularly the Pinotage and Shiraz are very enjoyable as well.

Barkan, Pinotage, Reserve, 2008 – One of the few varietal Pinotage wines produced by an Israeli winery. Pinotage, a South African grape variety transplanted to Israel is, in fact, a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut developed in the 1920's. Barkan's Pinotage 2008, aged for 12 months in both American and French oak is medium to full-bodied, offering concentrated aromas of ripe red and black berry fruits, roasted coffee, slight smokey notes and vanilla.

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2008 – Aged for 16 months in both French and American oak barrels, 88 percent Cab and 12 percent Merlot, the wine is full bodied showing concentrated black fruit, plums and cherries alongside cedar and notes of dried herbs all coming together nicely to a well-balanced, satisfying finish.

I also sampled the Barkan, Petit Verdot, 2008 – Petit Verdot, a traditional Bordeaux variety, is usually used for blending and is seldom treated and bottled as a varietal wine. In this case, 88 percent Petit Verdot, 8 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 4 Merlot, aged for 18 months in barriques, the wine is dark ruby in color offering rather concentrated aromas and flavors. I canno say that it is my favorite of the series, but definitely an interesting and off-the-beaten track vino.

By the way, if you have not seen it on the bookshelves yet, on 1 December the new Rogov's Guide to Israeli Wines 2011 was officially released. For the second consecutive year, Rogov also published a book about kosher wines from around the world. The author reviewed a variety of red, white, sparkling, rose and dessert wines produced in: Australia, France, Chile, Italy, South Africa, Hungary and the US. The book is yet another illustration of the fact that kosher wines should not necessarily be considered as low quality table and sacramental wine.