While persuing the shelves of the Lower Falls Wine Co., I saw that they had only a single wine from Israel. It was rare to see such wines here. Yet I knew that if they stocked the wine, it was likely an excellent choice so I bought it. It is so hard for me to leave this wine store without buying a case of new wines.
Barkan Winery, located in the the Barkan Industrial zone near the city of Ariel, was founded in 1990 by Shmuel Boxer and Yair Lerner, who were the largest grape growers of the Stock Winery. Their initial plan was to improve and enlarge the winery, to make it more competitive. This improvement included the planting of new wines, with quality grapes. Eventually, they found the winery was too small to handle all of the new grapes. In 1999, they purchased some land at Kibbutz Hulda and built an innovative, modern winery. It was also designed to be a major tourist attraction with a library and wine museum.
The winery produces several lines of wines, such as Classic, Reserve, Altitude, Domaine and Superieur. The Classic lines are premium wines made from grape varieties recognized around the world as top quality grapes. Red wines in this line are fermented at moderate temperatures in rotary fermentors to combine maximum color and body with the fruit character.
The 2007 Barkan Classic Pinot Noir ($14) is produced from grapes from the high desert vineyard at Mitzpeh-Ramon, at an altitude of about 750 meters. It sees no oak and only has an alcohol content of 13%. It is also Kosher/Mevushal. I opened this for Thanksgiving and found it to be a very fruit forward Pinot. There was a rush of strawberry, cherry and raspberry flavors on the palate with hints of spice. It had a relatively short finish and was not too complex. All in all, it was not my preferred style of Pinot. For the price, it was ok, and others seemed to enjoy it. But it did not impress me.