My cousins own this winery in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. I have been a fan of their wines for many years and finally got to meet them and visit the winery- what a most excellent time we had. Starting with a traditional breakfast we gathered around my cousins and got to know each other. My first thought was ‘they must be expecting a large group on this murky Saturday because the lady behind the bar was decanting quite a few bottles of wine- little did I know….
Our tour of the cellars started with barrel samples of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and then a blend. The 2017 wines were very youthful, tannic and delicious. Way too early to contemplate drinking. The 2018 barrel blend was stunning. Perfumed, it was integrated with smooth tannins. It will be a beautiful wine in bottle. Our tasting continued upstairs where we were treated to the samples of their Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay blend and others. Then came time for the Chateau wine and my cousin’s Merlot. Stunning. Simply amazing wines that we were treated to. Vintages going back to 2000 were sampled. The Merlots we drank were impeccable. I kept thinking to myself that Lebanese wines are amazing- they truly reward patience in the cellar. My cousin is an excellent winemaker who will not bottle or sell a wine until it is ready. Economically this is perhaps not the smartest move, but for the love of the wine it is the right thing to do. Close to half of their production is exported, so if you see a bottle in your local shop or on a list, try it. Unfortunately the Merlot is only sold at the winery, a shame as it rivals some of the best I have ever tasted. I will savor the bottles I brought back with fond memories of my best winery experience ever. Such an awesome day! Salut….