Barkan: My Annual Visit and Tasting Notes (K)

03/02/2011
By: Daniel Rogov

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?By: Daniel Rogov

Yesterday morning (2 Feb 2011) I made my way to Kibbutz Hulda (not far from Ramla in central Israel), there to taste and re-taste wines from Barkan and its daughter company, Segal. My tasting started with the wines of Barkan. Under the supervision of senior winemaker Ed Salzberg, and winemakers Yotam Sharon and Irit Boxer, the first of whom studied in California, the second in France, and the third in Australia, this is now the second-largest winery in Israel, with current production of about eight million bottles.

Barkan, whose main ownership is now in the hands of the soft-drink company Tempo, has a current investment exceeding $20 million, that including the fully modern winery, the adjoining vineyards (1500 dunams owned jointly by the winery and the kibbutz, making this the largest single vineyard in the country). A new state-of-the-art barrel room has now been completed and a visitors? center is well under construction.. Planting of new vineyards, especially in the Upper Galilee continue apace.

After my Barkan tastings, I continued with the wines of Segal but posting of those notes will have to hold until tomorrow for right now its time for an afternoon nap and then out to a wine tasting in Moda’iin.

My thanks to CEO Shmuel Boxer and each of the winemakers for a fine tasting as well as for their courtesies and good company during my visit to the winery.

Best
Rogov

Barkan ? The Reserve Series

Barkan, Merlot, Reserve, 2008:Dark garnet toward royal purple, medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins, a blend of 88% Merlot, 8% Shiraz and 4% Pinotage. Reflecting 14 months in 50% new and 1 year old French and American barriques, with soft tannins and light notes of spicy wood, opens in the glass to reveal appealing blackberry, black cherry and currant fruits, those matched nicely by notes of earthy minerals and a note of licorice. Drink now-2013. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Pinotage, Reserve, 2008: Blended with 8% Shiraz, showing dark cherry red towards garnet, full-bodied, with generous acidity and reflecting its 12 months in barriques with soft tannins and notes of spicy wood. On the nose and palate blackberries, cherries, purple plums and hints of vanilla and sweet herbs. Needs food to show at its best. Drink now-2013. Score 89. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Shiraz, Reserve, 2008 (Advance Tasting): Deep garnet, opens with an earthy, somewhat funky nose but that blows off quickly to reveal blackberry and black cherry fruits on a background of saddle leather, dark chocolate and roasted herbs. Drink from release-2014. Score 90. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Shiraz, Reserve, 2007: Oak-aged for 14 months, deep garnet in color, full-bodied, with silky tannins and hints of spicy wood integrating nicely, opens to show wild berry, black cherry and peppery notes and, on the moderately long finish, a note of licorice. Drink now?201. Score 88. K Re-tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Petit Verdot, Reserve, 2008 (Advance Tasting): Developed for 18 months in one year old barrels, a medium- to full bodied blend of 88% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. On the nose and palate toasty oak and bittersweet cocoa, those parting in the glass to reveal currants, blackberries and figs, an appealing note of toasted rye bread rising on the finish. Drink now or in the next year or so. Score 87. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2008 (Advance Tasting): A medium- to full-bodied blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Merlot. Reflects its 16 months in oak with round, gently gripping tannins and notes of spicy cedar wood. On the nose and palate black fruits and a hint of unsweetened cocoa. Not complex but an easy to drink wine. Drink now. Score 86. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan ? The Altitude Series

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 412, 2008 (Advance Tasting): Dark garnet with generous wood on the nose and still firm near-sweet tannins showing all signs of integrating nicely. Opens in the glass to reveal blackberries, wild berries and currants, those supported nicely by notes of cinnamon and black pepper. Spicy and forward at this stage. Needs a bit of time for the elements to come together and they will come together very nicely. Best from 2012-2016. Score 90. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 412, 2007:Made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes primarily from the Avnei-Eitan vineyard on the southern Golan Heights and developed largely in new French oak for 14 months. Medium- to full-bodied, in the direction of full, with soft tannins integrating nicely and a moderate reflection of spicy cedarwood from the barriques in which it aged, opens to show a fine array of blackcurrant, blackberry and blueberry fruits, those on a lightly spicy background that calls to mind mint and tobacco. Coherent, long and quietly elegant. Drink now?2015. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 624, 2008 (Advance Tasting): Dark garnet towards royal purple, with generous soft tannins and gentle notes of spicy wood. On first attack raspberries and chocolate, those followed by notes of blackberries and black cherries. Look as well for notes of black olives on the generous mouth-filling finish. Best from 2012-2016, perhaps longer. Score 91. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 624, 2007: Super-dark garnet, full-bodied, with gripping tannins and spicy wood showing all signs of integrating nicely. On the nose and palate, black fruits “all the way” ? that is to say blackcurrants, blackberries and black cherries, those on a background of dark chocolate and, on the long finish a note of roasted herbs coming in nicely. Best from mid-2011-2015. Score 90. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 720, 2008 (Advance Tasting): Dark, almost impenetrable garnet, with appealing notes of saddle leather and black fruits on the nose. Full-bodied, concentrated and intense at this early stage, firm tannins and spicy wood just starting to settle in but already showing fine balance and structure that bode well for the future. Opens in the glass to reveal a generous array of cassis, cherries and raspberries, those yielding to notes of blackcurrants, mocha and freshly cut herbs. Long and generous. Best from 2013-2018. Score 91. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Altitude 720, 2007: Deep garnet toware royal purple, full-bodied, with gently gripping tannins and spicy wood integrating nicely. A distinctly black fruit nose and on the palate red cherries, raspberries and currants, those supported comfortably by notes of exotic spices and a tantalizing hint of smoked meat. Rich and concentrated. Approachable and enjoyable now showing its elegance from 2012-2016. Score 91 K. (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan – Superieur Series

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Superieur, 2008 (BarrelTasting): Dark, almost impenetrable garnet, full bodied and intense, with teeth-numbing tannins at this time, those just starting to settle in with smoky wood and black fruits. On first attack blackberry and blackcurrant fruits, those yielding in the glass to notes of baking chocolate and espresso coffee and, on the long, long finish an appealing hint of red licorice. Approachable now but best from mid-2012-2016, perhaps longer. Score 92. K (Taste 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Superieur, 2007 (Advance Tasting): Full-bodied, dark garnet in color, somewhat reserved on first pouring but opens nicely in the glass to reveal a nose with gentle black fruits and vanilla tinted wood. On the palate a fine array of black fruits, those matched nicely by hints of mocha and bitter-sweet chocolate. Destined for elegance. Best from mid-2011-2015. Score 91. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Superieur, 2006: My earlier tasting note holds firmly. A full-bodied blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot aged for 18 months in primarily new French barriques. Dark ruby toward garnet, opens with generous oak and firm tannins, those subsiding in the glass and opening to reveal a light note of vanilla from the wood and then traditional Cabernet blackcurrants and blackberries, those along with notes of blueberries and mint and at what one moment seems to be a hint of lead pencils and another a cigar box note. Well crafted. Drink now?2013. Score 90. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Shiraz, Superieur, 2006: Showing every bit as nicely as at earlier tastings. Super dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied, a soft, round wine with silky tannins integrating nicely and showing a generous array of raspberries, red currant and chocolate aromas and flavors, those opening to reveal a gentle notes of smoked sawdust and eucalyptus. Tannins and light leathery notes rise on the generous finish. Well crafted. Drink now?2013. Score 91. K (Re-tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan, Merlot, Superieur, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): Still a tentative blend but already showing fine promise. Almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, full-bodied, with black fruits and a light note of sawdust on the nose, showing gently gripping tannins and a tempting array of cassis, wild berries and dark chocolate on the nose and palate. Long and generous. Destined for elegance. Best 2012-2016, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 89-91. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2011)

Barkan ? One Sneak Preview

Barkan, Southern Blend (Tentative Name), 2009 (Barrel Tasting): A blend of Carignan, Tempranillo, PInotage, Petit Verdot and 2 other varieties. Super-dark garnet, showing full bodied with tannins that grip comfortably along with notes of spicy oak. Destined to be a muscular but gentle and rich wine, with aromas and flavors of red and black currants, crushed berries, milk-chocolate and a gentle hint of what at one moment feels like fresh tobacco leaf and another of Mediterranean herbs. Best from 2012 or 2013. Tentative Score 90-92. K (Tasted 2 Feb 2011)

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