After buying out Stock, the former wine and liqueur producer, in 1990, Shmuel Boxer and Yair Lerner founded the Barkan winery.
In 1999, they began planting extensive vineyards on Kibbutz Hulda, located on the central plain near the town of Rehovot. And since mid-2008, the Barkan winery has run its operations there in a state-of-the-art facility.
Under the supervision of winemakers Ed Salzberg, Yotam Sharon and Irit Boxer, Barkan is now the second-largest winery in Israel, with current production at close to 10 million bottles annually. The winery releases varietal wines in four series: Superieur, Reserve (of which the Altitude wines may be considered a sub-label ), Classic and dOmaine.
Red, white and well-crafted
Barkan, Shiraz, Superieur, 2006: 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, opening to reveal a gentle note of smoked sawdust. Tannins and light leathery notes rise on the generous finish. Well-crafted. Drink now-2012. NIS 225. Score 91. K
Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2006: 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, subsiding in the glass and opening to reveal a light note of vanilla from the wood and then traditional Cabernet black currants and blackberries, 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. NIS 69. Score 90. K
Barkan, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve, 2009: Bright light gold in color, medium-bodied, with fruits muted at first but opening nicely in the glass to reveal appealing citrus, grassy and herbal notes all with a tantalizing hint of celery seed. Drink now-2011. NIS 45. Score 89. K
Barkan, Merlot, Reserve, 2007: Opens with a floral and fruit-rich nose, going on to reflect its 14 months in oak with light spicy wood and soft tannins, supporting generous raspberry and red currant fruits, complemented by notes of spices, dark chocolate and finally, on the long finish, cigar tobacco. Drink now-2012. NIS 69. Score 89. K
Barkan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, 2007: With a bit of bottle-time under its belt, showing better now than at an earlier tasting. Dark and ripe, medium- to full-bodied. Reflecting its 20 months in barriques with light notes of spices and vanilla and now well-integrating tannins. On the nose and palate black cherry, currants and a light smoky note, the intensity rising on the finish. Drink now-2012. NIS 69. Score 88. K
Barkan, Carignan, Reserve, 2007: Made from grapes harvested from 25-year-old vines, super-dark royal purple in color, medium- to full-bodied, and reflecting its 10 months in oak with soft, gently gripping tannins and sweet and spicy cedar wood. On the nose and palate blackberries, wild berries and purple plums, supported nicely by hints of bittersweet chocolate. Blended with 8% Cabernet Franc, finishes long and generous with appealing mineral notes. Drink now-2012. NIS 75. Score 88. K
Barkan, Chardonnay, Reserve, 2009: Light gold, slightly muted when first poured, but opening in the glass to show green apple, pear and green almond notes. Medium-bodied with an appealing hint of bitterness on the finish. Drink now-2011. NIS 53. Score 88. K
Barkan, Shiraz, Reserve, 2007: Youthful garnet in color, medium- to full-bodied, with silky tannins integrating nicely. Opening to show wild berry, plum and peppery notes and, on the moderately long finish, a note of licorice. Drink now-2012. NIS 69. Score 88. K
Barkan, Pinotage, Reserve, 2007: Oak-aged for 12 months, dark garnet and concentrated. With purple plum and blackberry notes along with sweet and spicy notes running through this medium- to full-bodied and gently tannic wine. Drink now. NIS 69. Score 87. K.