Established in 1990 by Shmuel Boxer and Yair Lerner, the Barkan winery combines the best of New World and Old World styles of wine producing. This state of the art winery, located in Kibbutz Hulda, nearby Rehovot, has set for itself a goal to produce excellent wines that will proudly stand against wines from the entire world. With an annual production of about 8 million bottles, this is Israel's second largest winery, producing five regular series: domaine, and Classic, which are meant for early drinking, while Reserve, Altitude, and Superieur are the series where the winery's selected grapes are destined. American-born Ed Salzberg is Barkan's chief winemaker. He studied his art at the University of California in Davis, and gained his practical experience working in wineries in California and the New York Finger Lakes district. Under him is Itay Lahat, a graduate of the HU Faculty in Rehovot, and Adelaide University in Australia; and Yotam Sharon, who graduated oenology studies at the Montpellier University in France. Together they make up an exceptional team with winemaking knowledge from important wine producing countries. Barkan is now launching their Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 within the winery s flagship series Superieur. The grapes for the wines in this top notch series are grown in the winery s selected vineyards in the Golan Heights and the Upper Galilee, and are handled with extreme care and sensitivity. The series is only crafted from the best possible harvests. When the fruit quality is less than optimal, the Superieur series isn't made. The new Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Superieur is a worthy follow-up to the Superieur 2002. It is tannic but balanced, and the Cabernet Sauvignon shines through, showing blackberry, ripe plum, and sweet spice flavors. Expensive, yes, but this is a wine of very high quality which has that edge of elegant complexity that marks a great wine. NIS 160. The Dalton winery, located in the Upper Galilee, has also released three worthy wines in their Reserve series: Reserve, Shiraz, 2004: This is a supple, harmonious Shiraz, richly flavored and well balanced with excellent texture and length. With grapes from the vineyards at Mt. Meron and Kerem Ben-Zimra, it has vivid aromas of cherry, black pepper, and caramel, with delicate notes of mint and coffee towards the long finish. Aged for 10 month prior to bottling in American oak barrels then spent another 6 month in the cellar, this wine will definitely improve with additional aging. NIS 120. Reserve, Merlot, 2004: The grapes for this dark red wine were harvested at four of Dalton s premium vineyards in the Upper Galilee. This medium to full-bodied, round and concentrated Merlot shows complex aromas of very ripe raspberry, plum, and plenty of oak. With soft tannins and a lingering aftertaste, this wine is excellent value. NIS 99. Cabernet Sauvignon 2004: The mouth feel on this stunning Cabernet is absolutely distinctive. Full, lush, packed with blackberries and cassis. The wine is voluptuous, smooth and coated with a thin layer of vanilla that last through an impressively long finish. It seems to be best now, but should hold for some years. NIS 105.