April 02, 2008

Barkan 2004 Israel Classic Pinotage, about $10

Since pinot noir is very hard to grow, especially in a warm climate, a South African viticulturalist crossed it with cinsault, a hardy Mediterranean grape, to develop pinotage.

The result is a much hardier grape, if not at all pinotlike with its dark color and raspberry flavors, but it's proved hard to vinify well; many pinotages have funky flavors that recall wet paint or burning leaves. Not this one.

It's made in Israel, where the grape seems to feel at home in the Mediterranean climate, and it's vinified with a light hand, which lets the clean, bright raspberry flavor sing.

It also happens to be kosher, a great boon for anyone looking for good wines to pour this Passover, but it'll be just as good on April 15, for any of us who've filed those pesky taxes and need something light, bright and affordable to cheer up the day.

Imported by Royal Wine Corp., New York

This review first appeared in the Denver Post.

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