Good things come to those who wait. Many of us have been waiting for quite some time for Barkan to return to its former heights of the aughts, with some having given up all hope. But a little over a year ago a amidst a bit of a shakeup in the local wine scene, Ido lewinsohn moved from Recanati to take over as head winemaker at Barkan, providing a glimmer of hope that all was not lost at Israel’s largest producer. Why only a glimmer? Well, Barkan has established lines and they produce and sell a CRAZY amount of wine through those lines – wine that may not be to my taste – but clearly sells. That being the case, it would seem impractical to do a complete 180 on any given well established product line. Remember, Barkan is owned by Tempo. They are a very large corporation and mange product lines the way any other large scale food manufacturer does. When Coke changes a formula – even a little – people go nuts. Same thing is true with ANY well established brand and product line. While wines have a little more flexibility as there is no such thing as 100% consistency from year to year – a wholesale change in style is probably not something that was in the cards.
With that in mind rather then pin all of my hopes on a quick change at winery’s main lineup, I was hoping for some new releases that would allow the winemaker free reign without being shackled to past styles. So when a friend told me about the Beta Series, a relatively small release of a new line by Barkan, it immediately piqued my interest. The Beta Series is so far made up of three wines – 2 whites and a Rosé. This post will deal with Rosé.
The 2017 Barkan Beta Series Vin Gris is made up of 100% Tempranillo – the second such Rosé this season, the first being the excellent Latour Netofa Rosado. The wine clocks in at 12% ABV. Like the Latour, the wine really changes with temperature – too cold and the nose and mouth are quite muted. But give it a chance to warm a couple of degrees above the regular Rosé serving temp and this wine opens up nicely. The nose is raspberry with a touch of flintiness.
In the mouth at first I tasted some peach followed immediately with raspberry with slight almost meaty note on the finish. This wine is has a nice viscosity to it that went well with the flavor profile overall but in fact there was a bit of a disconnect there with the wine presenting more full bodied while the flavors being quite delicate. This wine, as opposed to many of the Israeli 2017 releases is not an acid bomb. The acid is present, though muted – giving again a more delicate presentation.
I happened to have opened this bottle on Motzei Shabbat-Shavuot as I thought it would go well with the salmon I was serving (and it did). But it was the one meal we were alone for this Chag and neither the wife or kids were up to drinking with me (we had an adventurous lunch) – so I saved half of the bottle for Motzei Chag. The nose remained fairly consistent, but in the mouth there was a bit of funkiness and slate that wasn’t there before that was very nice as well sort of rounding out the wine and giving it a bit of unexpected further complexity and depth.
So how does it compare to the Neotfa Rosado? There are definitely some similarities as described above. I think the Netofa might be a bit more balanced overall, while the Barkan has this delicate quality that I found intriguing. I probably would be more apt to drink the Barkan alone and the Netofa with food. Still, I really enjoyed it. A very nice first effort – hopefully the start of a new era!
- Price: NIS 59
- For Aging: No
- Would I Buy Again: Yes
- QPR Rating: Good
- Taste/Depth/Quality: Good +
- Overall Rating (1-5): 3.5