Galilee, Israel, cork seal, $150
This was a purchase by a friend at last week's Middle Eastern wine tasting at Malouf's. We opened it after the bottle of Domaine Paillère & Pied-Gu Gigondas 2003 and the contrast in styles was extremely pronounced. I don't know much about Israeli wine, but apparently Barkan is one of Israel's biggest producers. The wine is made at their central Hulda winery, but uses fruit from the Upper Galilee, Golan Heights and Jerusalem Hills regions.
It's dark purple in colour, with a little crimson circling the rim of the glass. Having a sniff the oak is obvious; it smells of resin, cedar, cloves and black fruits. The palate is big and intense with flavours of cloves, cinnamon, blueberry, plum and boysenberry - can we call these blue fruits? It's a well balanced wine, though it was a little too sweet for me. Barkan Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 is certainly a wine that'll divide the crowd; if you like big lashings of oak then this is a wine for you.
Visit winery website.