My big red moods

Chateau Ksara Cuvée 3eme Millenaire

Now I must be honest and say that I tend to stay well clear of the ‘bigger’ Lebanese wines until they are at least ten years old. But, just as I rekindled my love affair with oaked Chardonnays this summer, I sense a similar mood with big reds dressed in expensive oak.

Many of these wines would fall into what many people variously call ‘international’, ‘modern’ or ‘ego’wines. The term is a bit pejorative, and indicates a lack of subtlety, what a Rolex wearing, Cohiba smoking Russian oligarch might order. But then again there is nothing wrong with a Cohiba or a Rolex; both are enormous brands, so I think there is a degree of snobbery in all this.

And the proof my friends, is on the pudding or in this case the Chateau Ksara Cuvee du Troisieme Milenaire 2003. The big red mood started about two weeks ago when I pulled a Chateau Ksara 2003 off the rack. Mrs K and I were so thrilled I had to pull down another. Last night, I scoured the rack to see if there were anymore but alas not. Instead I went for Ksara’s CDTM, not my favorite Lebanese wine but I must confess, it blew my socks off.

Quite simply it had aged magnificently

My tasting note in my guide said of the 2005 that it needed cellaring for at least two years. That would make it eight years old, just like the 2003, which had softened beautifully into a sensory explosion of fruits – warmed apricots in particular – and spices. The wood had done its job and given structure and a wonderful silky texture to a wine that slipped down the throat like, well, nectar. Now that autumn is upon us I am going to attack the other behemoths on my wine rack.

More big Lebanese reds with my tasting notes from the wine list at Tawleh in Beirut


Monastere de Kfifane 2008

Grape: Sangiovese

Lebanon’s only Sangiovese. A beefy wine with aromas of stewed fruits and peppers in the mouth it is a wonderful collaboration of spices and dark forest fruits.

Château Belle-Vue

Renaissance 2007

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Black licorice with cloves and peppers on the nose. Nice texture with a velvety, cocoa finish. Supple (and subtle) for such a well-built wine.

Château Belle-Vue 2006

Grapes: Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Notes of bell peppers, leather and stewed fruit with a whiff of pork sausage. In the mouth velvet texture with notes of plums and hints of cloves. Outstanding finish.

Château Kefraya

Comte de M 2006

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

Black peppers and thyme on the nose. Elegant structure and a smooth finish and a nice balance between the tannins and the fruit that will ensure that this landmark wine will age very nicely.

Château Ksara

Le Souverain 2006

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Arinarnoa

Bell pepper nose with hints of figs. The Cabernet sauvignon dominates this elegant wine but is backed admirably by the arinarnoa giving flavors of cassis and cured meats.


Château Marsyas

Château Marsyas 2007

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot

Fruity if slightly toasted nose. In the mouth, balanced and integrated tannins with a good ‘spine’.

Château St Thomas

Château Clos St Thomas 2006

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.

Elegant structure with layers of fruits and spices. Texture is soft for its age but strong enough to hold up over the years . Full of potential.

Domaine de Baal 2007

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah

Black fruit aromas with mild peppery and licorice notes. In the mouth there are further flavors of blackcurrants, cloves and cured meats. Powerful finish.

Domaine des Tourelles

Syrah du Liban 2006

Grape: Syrah.

Nose is peppery with eucalyptus and roast coffee beans. A robust texture with nicely integrated tannins. The finish is a bit disappointing especially as there is lots of fruit on the middle palate. Good aging potential but drinking now.


Domaine Wardy

Private Selection 2004

Grapes: Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Smoky nose. Balanced in the mouth with a fruity finish. Good aging potential with well-integrated soft and velvety tannins.

Karam Winery

St John 2004

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

Nose of peppers and other spices. Tannins have developed well and the mouth is alive with fruits.


Reserve 2006

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre and Syrah.

A complex nose of green peppers, cloves and cedar. On the palate the texture is velvety and elegant. The tannins appear gradually and the finish smooth and underpinned with fruit. Good aging potential.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ghenwa Steingaszner said,

    I love your article & it keep us up to date about Lebanese wine since we do not visit `Lebanon most often we hope to see you one day in Cape Town God Bless

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