New Vintage – Barkan Assemblage

This week, the Barkan Winery released four new wines from the winery’s Assemblage label

This week, the Barkan Winery released four new wines from the winery’s Assemblage label. The event took place in the private lounge at the David & Yossef restaurant on Montefiore St. in Tel Aviv and provided an opportunity to taste the wines and also sample them alongside some very tasty dishes.

Barkan’s CEO Shmuel Boxer provided an overview of the winery’s recent activities and plans. Apparently 25 percent of Barkan’s vinos are already exported and that number will probably grow in the coming months. In the vineyards, Barkan is experimenting with new grape varietals including Tannat and Muscat Canelli and also uprooting and re-planting vineyards that were contaminated by viruses. A natural transition from the update about the vineyards and grapes was to discuss the wine and here winemakers Ed Salzberg and Irit Boxer-Shank introduced the new vinos and their experience with the Assemblage label.

Assemblage - a French word referring to the blending process resulting in the final vino. The label is positioned between the winery's Reserve and Altitude label that both consist solely of varietal wines, it will be selling for NIS 75-85 per bottle. The emphasis is less on the variety and more on the terroir. The wines reflect the regions where the grapes were cultivated and the names of the wines Eitan, Tzafit and Reichan are derived directly from names of mountains or other geographical landmarks in the vicinity of the vineyards.

The wines were received well both in Israel and abroad with the Reichan 2010 receiving 92 points and the Editor’s Choice award in the Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and the Eytan 2010 receiving 91 points and selected for the Cellar Collection category.

Personally, of the three red vinos my favorite was the “off-the-beaten-track” Tzafit, 2010 blend comprising Marselan (51%), Caladoc (33%), Pinotage (11%) and Carignan (5%). The result is a medium bodied and well balanced vino suggesting very pleasant (and interesting) aromas and flavors that bring to mind ripe red and black fruits, sweet spices, dry flowers, dark chocolate and fresh herbs coming together nicely and leading to a medium-long finish.

This was the first time that Barkan added a white vino to the Assemblage series releasing the Reichan – White 2012. A blend of Chardonnay (54%), Sauvignon Blanc (14%) and Viognier (32%) this is a rich and rather “serious” white vino. Allow some time to aerate in the glass and you will enjoy rich aromas and flavors including white summer fruits, apricots, spices, flowers and buttery notes leading to a long finish with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Buy now and if you can wait 6-10 months you will be in for a treat.