Château Ksara tasting

Name: Château Ksara

Location: Ksara, Bekaa Valley

Established: 1857

Date: February 3, 2012

Tasted at: Tawlet restaurant in Mar Mikhael, Beirut

 

Whites

Blanc de l’ Observatoire 2010

Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc, Clairette and Muscat,

Alc: 12.5%

Ksara’s entry level white does what it says on the tin. Mid-yellow pear hue. Strong citrus on the nose and crispy with pleasant savory notes in the mouth that contribute to a sustained finish overlaid with ripe fruit.

Cuvee du Pape 2010

Grape: Chardonnay

Alc: 13%

Oak aging: eight months

Mid to dark gold hue. Lovely warm aromas of nuts. Full-bodied and savory in the mouth but the taste is not as overwhelmed by the oak as was the case with previous vintages. The result is a well-balanced wine with decent ‘fat’ and excellent acidity to complement the wonderful buttery notes. A wine of surprising complexity and a fine example of an upper end Chardonnay.

 

Reds

Cuvée de Printemps 2010

Grapes: Gamay (50%) and Tempranillo (50%)

Alc: 13%

Mid purple hue. Explosive aromas of berry fruits. Exquisitely balanced in the mouth. Excessive fruitiness is curbed by the Gamay, which reins in the exuberance of the Tempranillo. Not a complex wine but then again it’s not meant to be. Think Beaujolais with guts.

 

Château 2008

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) Merlot (30%) Petit Verdot (10%)

Alc: 14%

Oak aging: 12 months

Deep purple hue. Spicy aromas underpinned with forest fruits. Less time in wood has produced a wine that is well structured – fruit and tanins marching in time – and which, judging by the 2007, should soften nicely. Cassis and black fruits in the mid palate and the finish is nicely spicy.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

Alc: 13.5%

Oak aging: 18 months

Not a huge fan of single varietal Cabs and I have always wondered where this wine fits into the Ksara portfolio. Still, I am sure they have their reasons and this is still clearly a quality wine for people who enjoy this style. Dark cherry hue, it was a bit shy on opening but after an hour the wine did open up to deliver stunning freshness and bigger and riper fruit – black cherries and cassis – and a singularly powerful finish. A wine worth revisiting.

Cuvée du Troisième Millénaire 2007

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah

Alc: 13.5%

Oak aging: 18 months

Now this is more like it! Mid to dark ruby hue. A stunning ‘mineral’ nose with hints of menthol. In the mouth the texture is not cloying like some wines in this segment. There is balance; there is freshness and the tannins are well integrated to give notes of chocolate, berries and cassis. One of the supreme full-bodied Lebanese wines.

Le Souverain 2006

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Arinarnoa

Alc: 13.5%

Oak aging: 24 months

Deep purple hue. Nose is brooding with bell peppers, young forest fruit and a hint of prunes. The management of the tannins is exceptional and this augurs well for the development of this still youthful wine which is already giving notice that it will evolve into a seriously complex red.

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