Barkan Pinot Noir – Pinot for Passover from the Israeli Desert?!

April 04 2012 - 8:50 AM

Screen Shot 2012-04-03 at 5.48.10 PMIsraeli wines have a hurdle to overcome. Everyone thinks Israeli = Kosher and that means Manischewitz… syrupy fruit flavored Kiddish wines. I can't wait for Kiddish wine to become a food trend. Hmmm. I DID just get a sodastream. 

Israeli wines are coming of age. There are several different regions, given the size of the country I might call them microclimates, including Shomron, Samson, Golan and Negev. While the Golan produces much of their best Israeli wines, in this case Barkan Pinot Noir is from the Negev. That's right…one of the fussiest varietals is being grown in the middle of the desert. The irrigation technology is able to starve their vines more than enough to yield a rather concentrated wine which in this case it's fairly dense and fruity with more spice than I'm used to with my pinot but it certainly has its own character and for all it's intensity remains a lighter drinking wine.

It's kind of a cop-out to say it but the easy mouthfeel and restricted acid is a benefit with fish or veggies. It slightly more intense flavor broadens it even beyond more traditional pinot. I would drink it with braised meat, cholent or cassoulet, salmon, etc. Even more telling, I would drink this any time of year- not just on Passover. At around $12 it offers a good value for a legitimate pinot with a slightly different style. How often do you get Pinot from the desert?

I poured this alongside 7 other Israeli wines at a tasting I held in Wisconsin and it was the standout.

–Josh Brusin