The message may be
taking time to filter through, but Lebanon is no longer a one wine country.
We have chosen some favorite producers, in a selection of thumbnail
sketches listed in no particular order.
The country's oldest
winery will be celebrating its 150th birthday in 2007.
Owned by the
charismatic Druze politician Walid Jumblat, who bought a controlling stake
from the De Bustros family in the late '80s,
Musar needs no
introduction, but readers may not be as familiar with the Hochar Pére et
Fils 2000, Musar's second and, according to Serge Hochar, “more accessible”
A boutique winery
founded by Ramzi and Sami Ghosn and their high-profile French partners -
the Brunier brothers and Dominic Hébrard - in the mid '90s.
has a portfolio of 12 wines, including five varietals and a very gluggable,
This is a Kefraya
winery that produces ten wines under the careful eye of the colorful,
hippy winemaker Yves Morard, who did so much to put the neighboring
Château Kefraya on the map in the '80s and early '90s.
Clos St Thomas
The Touma family
made their name in Arak. In the mid '90s they moved into wine production
proper and the result was Clos St Thomas (Touma is Arabic for Thomas).
Domaine des Tourelles
oldest producer. It may produce what is arguably the finest arak in the
micro-winery owned by another Touma, Dargham, or Dr D as his label
proclaims. I recommend his Grand Vin Bourgeois. It is elegant, rounded,
and fruity, underpinned with spices.
is a small producer
in Mount Lebanon. Its top wine is Selection Privée 2001, a very classy and
correct Cabernet Sauvignon.
Located in Ras al
Harf in the Lamartine Valley. The Château de Cana 2001 is an absolute
knockout Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, awash with liquorice, berries, thyme and
even a hint of sumac.
One of Lebanon's
oldest producers. The favorite is the Château 2000, a sturdy,
medium-bodied wine that has developed a pleasing suppleness with notes of
popcorn and jam.
Winery and Château Belle-Vue
Produce less than
50,000 bottles between them, but the results are impressive.
Favorite is Château
2002 which is made from Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, Merlot and Syrah.
It has aroma's of framboise, musk and hints of vanilla, while it is silky
and long in the mouth.
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