Posts Tagged ‘barkan’

Toast of the Town & am I becoming a wine snob?

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Once again I had the good fortune of attending the Wine Enthusiast Toast of the town.  This was my 4th year, but this was the first time I attended as a vendor as opposed to as a journalist (OK, blogger).

In a new location (Avery Fisher Hall instead of Koch Theater) within NYC’s glorious Lincoln Theater, Wine Enthusiast put on its annual Toast of the Town event this past Thursday May 5th.

It was bigger than its ever been before with a ton of wine and lots of great restaurants.  This year there were also spirits and beers being poured.

I attended this year on behalf of Israel’s Barkan Winery.  The Barkan lineup this year was a pretty cool one.

The 2007 Barkan Superieur Pinotage is a very cool & interesting wine.  Rich chocolate, toffee & ripe fruit… A great wine that really makes you go “hmmmm”.

Speaking of going hmmmm, we also poured the 3 wines in the “Altitude” series.  The altitude represents vineyards at different heights above sea level, representing different terroirs.  The wines also come from different regions, so the altitude isn’t the only difference.  But the 3 wines (a 412, 624 & 720) are basically all made the same way – so like an experiment with the winemaking as the control.  It was lots of fun to hear the people, most of whom had different favorites amongst the 3.

I did try to hit up a few other tables while I was there and I managed to taste about 30 wines.

In no particular order, I liked the following:

Perry Moore: A 2008 Napa Cab & 2008 Beckstoffers vineyard Oakville Cab that reminded me a lot of the wines I got to work with when I lived in Napa and worked in the lab.

Don Sebastiani & Sons 2007 Aquinas “Philosepher’s Blend”  had great acidity balancing out its ripe fruit.

A Greek wine, the 2004 Oenoforos Lanos Cabernet Sauvignon had dusty fruit & a good earthiness that reminded me of an aged Israeli wine (which makes some sense as they are both Eastern Mediterranean).

The 2004 Batasiolo Vigneto Cerequio Barolo was a WOW wine with great liveliness, subtle burgundian fruit and cola flavors.

Of the whites the one standout for me was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (which when done well I find to be so refreshing…I can drink LOTS of NZ Sauv Blanc) the Matua Valley 2009 which had fresh pink grapefruit.

Sooooo….what do I mean by “Wine Snob”?  Sure I prefer good wine to mediocre wine, but the reality is that most wine these days (and surely almost all being poured at events such as this) is pretty good.  I guess I felt like a bit of a snob at this event more because I’m tough to impress.   I’ve come to expect most wine to be good these days.  But good isn’t good enough anymore, it needs to be interesting.  And in the end, very little of the wine that I had the opportunity to try was truly interesting.

Happy Interesting Wine Tasting


Israeli Wine STUFF

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

I had the pleasure of attending an intimate evening with friends and winemakers from a well known Israeli winery.  Yotam Sharon and Irit Boxer-Shank, two of the winemakers from Israel’s Barkan winery were in town and joined a group of about 10-15 people for a really cool wine tasting.

In addition to the wines of barkan that they make, they brought some “Segal” wines, made at their sister winery by fellow Israeli winemaker Avi Feldstein.

They brought 9 wines with them, and walked the crowd through each one.  Beginning with 2 chardonnays, and then working through reds such as Pinotage, Shiraz, Cab’s & a Merlot.  The best wines of the evening were an altitude series (624 – named after the meters above sea level of the vineyard) Cab, a single vineyard Cab by Segals, and the high end Barkan Superior Merlot.  The wines were great and the evening was both educational and fun!

The other Israeli wine related story I want to share this evening has to do with an interesting masters thesis researched at the University of Haifa’s Center for Tourism, Pilgrimage and Recreation Research. The student, Noa Hanun, surveyed 254 visitors to wineries across the Northern winemaking regions of Israel.

Sure I find such a thesis in and of itself to be pretty cool.  But there were some interesting findings as well. Of most interest to me was that “Fifty-two percent of respondents expressed a strong interest in (wine), while only 22% showed a very high level of knowledge of wines and wine production“.

While I am amazed at the (in my mind) high percentage of those who believe (or showed) a high level of wine knowledge, this further confirms for me the ever expanding interest in wine among those who still admit to having a strong interest while knowing little about wine.

I think this expressed interest is fantastic and my only real comment to these people is to be more confident in their own wine knowledge.  Sure they may not have a firm grasp on the technical side of winemaking but as they grow more and more comfortable with wine the most important thing for them to understand is that THEIR PALATE doesn’t lie.  And while they can learn more of the technical aspects (should they be so inclined) as long as they know what type/style of wine THEY like than they DO in fact KNOW about wine.

Happy Israeli (winemaker) Wine Tasting & educating!