Barkan, Altitude 720, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003

When V. recommended this wine to me last year, I considered tagging her email as spam, but then V. does not suffer Israeli wines gladly, so this seemed worth looking into.

She not only liked the wine, but I think she used the term "old world". Or maybe she said it was the most old world-ish of Barkan's Altitude series and I think I can see her point. It's as slick, clean and commercial as you would expect from Israel's second largest producer (yeah, I know I'm stereotyping) and as ripe as most Israeli wines get. But, probably because it hails from the highest vineyard from Barkan's Altitude series (the others are 415 and 624 meters high), the near-sweet ripeness of the fruit is reined in by a earthy, tobacco leaf overlay and nicely complemented by crisp tannins. So good call, V., but while the relative elegance lends weight to your old world reference, I think I'd have guessed Australia blind.

A very nice wine, drink now, could survive cellaring for a couple of years but I'm going to save my personal storage space for Riesling.


Anonymous said…
This was a wine I bought back in July, after finally finding a Kosher wine retailer in London with decent Israeli stock. My brief note:

'Very focused and ripe black and blue fruit. Vanilla and cedar nose. Lovely herbal notes making me think 'Mediterranean'. Perfect balance. Soft tannins. Moderate+ length.'

I said 'Mediterranean' at the time but the blue fruit ripeness is something I usually find in Aussies - pure and clean (not jammy) in this case.

I paid $35 for this in the UK. What's the price in Israel?
2GrandCru said…
Hmmmm, I think I bought it at a discount with a group. I'm guessing the shelf price was about 24 USD.

Our impressions are very similar, Arieh, herbal Mediterranean notes, Aussie blue fruits. And the clean purity. I prefer red fruit in red wines but between black and blue fruit, I prefer blue.

Would you age it further? I can't see it gaining any more complexity while that pureness of fruit right now is very charming.
Anonymous said…
I think it has the structure to age, but for me this wine expresses itself perfectly now.
Anonymous said…
PS I also prefer ripe red fruit but have found the focused, super-clean super-ripeness in good Aussie Shiraz (eg Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 1998 one of my faves) irresitable. It's like a drug - I know it's wrong but can't help myself.
2GrandCru said…
To age as in to survive or to improve?
Anonymous said…
Survive IMO. For me it's at peak.
Unknown said…
Did you manage to taste the other 2 altitude wines? How do they compare?
2GrandCru said…
I didn't taste the other Altitude wines, Jan.