Rosé season approaches!

Lebanon makes some damn fine rosés  (, which is just as well as the global demand for ‘pink’ wines has gone nuts in recent years. In the UK, they have seen impressive growth and now represent well over 10% of all wines sold.

Lebanon has seen a similar surge in interest. As the wine sector continues to pique the curiosity of Lebanese consumers, rosés have played their part shaping tastes, especially when it comes to spring and summer dining. Lebanese drinkers are looking for a wine that has a bit of ‘guts’ but which still has a fresh and zestful presence.

The 2010 wines should be, or soon be, ready for release and almost all Lebanese roses will have something to satisfy most palates.

The Spanish have two words for their rosés – rosado for the paler varieties and clarete for the darker wines. I prefer the latter but I might be a in a minority. Aziz Wardy from Domaine Wardy confessed that his excellent rosé is now less ‘clarete‘ than in previous years due to market demand. It still is one Lebanon’s finest and shows that producers are responding to what the consumers are asking for.

Chateau Ksara makes three rosés including the best selling Sunset; Chateau Musar has two, as does Chateau Kefraya, which is responsible for the stylish Myst (a wine that has made into nightclub ice buckets). Others worth mentioning are those made by Domaine des Tourelles (very clarete!), Massaya, Chateau St Thomas, Ixsir (lovely gunmetal pink hue), Chateau Ka and Coteau de Botrys (a really meaty rosé!) and the Karam Winery. There are many more!

A word of caution when buying: unless you are going after Chateau Musar’s enigmatic Chateau Rosé (2006), which is in a class of its own, it is a useful rule of thumb to avoid rosés more than a year to 18 months old. At this time of year, the 2009 rosés are still holding up but one should be looking forward to what 2010 has to offer. This does not mean that a 2008 rosé, for example, will be undrinkable (some are made to be very robust).  If in doubt, and if you can tell in the artificial light of the shop) check the color. If there is a brownish hue to the wine, it may mean that it is past its best.

There are at least 23 rosés made in Lebanon so go out and see what style suits your palate!




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