?Segal?s Wines have produced a new varietal wine made from the Argaman grape. The wine is called Rehasim Dovev Argaman 2006. Rehasim is Segal?s label for single vineyard wines from the Merom Hagalil/ Upper Galilee region. There is also a Rehasim Dovev Merlot and a Rehasim Dishon Cabernet Sauvignon in this series. (Dovev & Dishon are the names of the vineyards).
Argaman, which means ?deep purple? in Hebrew, was first developed by Professor Roy Spiegel of the Volcani Institute of Agriculture. It is a cross between Carignan and the Portuguese grape Souzao. The object was to produce a variety capable of producing high yields and a good color, which would eventually replace Carignan as the main blending grape in Israel.
The first Argaman wine was launched by Carmel in 1996 and it even received a silver medal in international competition. However the overall feeling was that Argaman was not a great success, certainly not as a quality variety. Since then Carignan, which spans the history of modern Israel winemaking, has enjoyed a comeback. Wineries are beginning to realize that the future in Israel may be in Mediterranean varieties, which thrive in Mediterranean climates, like Israel. By lowering yields drastically, to 30-35 hl per ha, and selecting special old vine vineyards, both Carmel and Vitkin wineries have been able to make quality, award winning Carignans.
However Avi Feldstein, Segal?s successful winemaker, has always had faith in Argaman. Firstly he continued using it in some of the lesser expensive Segal wines, which are sold in Israeli supermarkets. Then he determined to make a quality Argaman. He selected the site and planted Argaman in the Dovev vineyard at an elevation of 700 meters in 1999. Now, after a few years of trials, he has fulfilled his objective by releasing the results of his labours: a quality, single vineyard Argaman wine. The Segal Argaman was aged in French and American oak barrels for 15 months. The wine is 13.5% alcohol. It has a beautiful deep color, with soft tannins and an aroma of ripe summer fruits.
Segal?s Wines is an historic name in the Israeli wine scene. It was a family winery founded in the early years of the State of Israel, before being purchased by Barkan, Israel?s second largest winery. Their wines are produced independently, by their own dedicated winemaker, using Barkan?s facilities.
The Segal?s Argaman will certainly be of great interest. For a country without indigenous varieties, it is the nearest there is to Israel?s own grape variety.
Avi Feldstein, Segal?s successful winemaker
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