Lebanon is among the oldest sites of wine production in the world.The Israelite prophet Hosea (780–725 BC) is said to have urged his followers to return to God so that "they will blossom as the vine and fame be like the wine of Lebanon, [and] their fragrance will be like that of Lebanon". The Phoenicians of its coastal strip were instrumental in...
Lebanon is among the oldest sites of wine production in the world.The Israelite prophet Hosea (780–725 BC) is said to have urged his followers to return to God so that "they will blossom as the vine and fame be like the wine of Lebanon, [and] their fragrance will be like that of Lebanon". The Phoenicians of its coastal strip were instrumental in spreading wine and viticulture throughout the Mediterranean in ancient times. Despite the many conflicts of the region, the country has an annual production of about 8,500,000 bottles of wine.
Lebanese winemakers have favored French grapes, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Rhone varietals such as Cinsaut, Carignan and Grenache.
There are also grapes that are specific and indigenous to Lebanon such as Obaideh and Merwah
Most of the major wineries have their vineyards in the southern Beqaa Valley. Château Ksara remains much the biggest, with 70% of all the country's production. It is no longer connected with the Jesuit house of Tanail, it was sold in 1972 and suffered considerably during the civil war, but has now bounced back with reds and rosés made from Rhone varietals such as Carignan and Cinsaut.
Next biggest is Château Kefraya, whose majority of shares were bought by Druze politician Walid Jumblat from the De Bustros family in the late 1980s. The former winemaker, Yves Morard, has now set up Cave Kouroum nearby.
Chateau Musar is perhaps the best known in the West, it was a particular favourite of Auberon Waugh. Musar achieved international recognition at the Bristol Wine Fair of 1979 and for a long time was the only Lebanese wine widely available in the United Kingdom. The second wine, 'Hochar', is made in a lighter style for earlier drinking. Chateau Musar is known for transporting the grapes across the Front line during the civil war. Currently the sector exports over 50% of the production mainly to the United Kingdom, France and the United States.
Lebanese red winemakers have favored French grapes, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Lebanon's Beqaa Valley has a strong use of Cabernet Sauvignon which has became internationally recognized through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Lebanese red wines also use Merlot grape variety which has a dark blue-colored wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle,and Rhone varietals such as Cinsaut, Carignan and Grenache are also used.
The story of Lebanese red wine in recent times has basically been the story of Chateau Muscar winery in the southern Beqaa Valley. Owner and winemaker Serge Hochar trained in Bordeaux, and makes what are undoubtedly the region's most celebrated red wines, exporting virtually every bottle produced. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault, the top Cuvee is matured in both barrel and bottle for several years before release, and is ferociously dark, intensely spicy and cedary wine with plenty of alcohol and a haunting, savoury character that lingers on the palate.
Lebanese white wine is definitely a unique proposition. Lebanese white wines are extending their reputation with classic grape varieties. Go beyond the confines of Europe, there countries to the east and south of the Mediterranean that have been making wines for centuries, small amounts of which occasionally find their way into the export trade.A small production oaky white wine from a mixture of Chardonnay, Sauvignon and a local grape called Meroue is fairly heavy and less compelling. Notably Lebanon's Begaa Valley in the Middle East offer especially favourable climes for grape growing Some key Producers to keep your eye on are Musar, Ksara, Kefraya, Massaya, Clos St Thomas, Dom. des Tourelles.
ABN: 11 806 263 393
337 526 06
360 674 16