The BETA Series

If you're the main winemaker for a large winery (and Barkan-Segal is very large), like Ido Lewinsohn, there are few places where enjoy indulge yourcreative urges. I guess. I don't really know what goes on in Barkan and knowing Ido, I assume he enjoys the challenges of managing such a large operation. 

But then, there are the more 'elite' series, where a winemaker can have some fun.

I loved the Whole Cluster series and, to a lesser extend, the Free Run and Wild Fermentation series - all three from the Segal side of the business. The Barkan side offers the Beta series, which is a sort of experimental, limited series that, as far as I know, targets hipster Tel Aviv joints. The series offers two local grapes, Marawi and Argaman, as well as a Riesling. An odd trio, by any standard.

Marawi, 2018

This is one of our few indigenous grapes, a fact that usually triggers one of two reactions. One: it's a food grape - I'm not so sure this is actually true and this complaint ignores the fact that during the days of the muslim Turkish Empire, many wine grapes were raised and likely fermented on the sly, but sold for food consumption. Two: if it was any good, everyone would be doing it. This ignores the fact that Emerald Riesling was made here for years while the 'real' Riesling was ignored. So much for the knowledge of the masses. 

As for the wine itself, you need to wait and let some acetic aromas blow away. They turned me off, at first, and I was thinking, maybe Marawi wasn't made to be. But the nose turned out to be intriguing, herbal and chalky, with a touch of roasted bread crust. The palate is rather light, but still manages to sustain enough presence and flavors for a good brunch. Remember that not every painting needs to be an oil painting and you're might be in for a sneaky treat. 

Argaman, 2017

This, also, is a sort of indigenous  grape, in the sense that it was engineered specifically for Israel. Barkan-Segal made it during Feldstein's days at Segal in the previous decade, and now we have this. Admittedly, I've had better Argamans, but still, this has a certain charm in its right, a peppery, light red, reminding me of a Gamay from the Loire.