Batroun Mountains tasting

Date: 21 June, 2012

Location: Batroun North Lebanon

Established: 2003

Production: 50,000 bottles

Area under vine: 11 ha

Varietals:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc Chardonnay, Merlot, Merweh, Mourvèdre, Muscat, Obeideh, Sémillon, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah.

One of the first producers to establish themselves in the northern area of Batroun (making owner Assad Hark something a pioneer), the winery is a perfect example of the type of family run, boutique operation that will likely define the future profile of the Lebanese wine producer. There were good reviews at the recent London Wine Fair, proving that, despite a few iffy vintages in previous years, Batroun Mountains has found its identity. Watch this space!

The Lebanese coastal town of Batroun and the hills above it

Whites

“7” 2011

Grapes: Chardonnay, Merweh, Muscat, Obeideh, Sémillon, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

Alc: 13%

Entry level white made, as the name suggests, with seven grapes. Sauvignon Blanc nose overlaid with summer flowers. Good acidity and rounded citrus notes in the mouth. Finish pulls up a bit short, but nonetheless a white wine that does what it says on the tin. LL12,000 *

Chardonnay 2011

Grapes: Chardonnay

Alc: 13%

Mid gold hue. Expressive nose, capturing the 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Excellent body with mineral freshness (the grapes are grown at 1400m) and robust flavors emerging across the palate, though not overwhelming. Savory finish. A stunning wine. Only 600 cases made in 2011.

LL15,000

Riesling 2011

Grapes: Riesling

Alc: 13%

Intense floral and fruity aromas. Lovely acidity and layered flavors in the mouth. Good structure. Lovely crisp finish. Proof that Lebanon has the terroir in which this wonderful grape can perform.

LL,18,000

 

Rosé

 Rosé Royal 2011

Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon

Alc: 11.5%

Aromatic nose with notes of leather and tobacco. Rounded and full of cabernet flavors. Medium sweet but not overwhelming.

LL12,000

 

Reds

 

 

Ruby 2009

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah

Alc: 13%

Intensely spicy and floral nose that took a bit of time to evolve. Brooding fruits in the mouth. Good body and balance. Finishes a bit short bit would have liked more time with this wine as there is a complexity that belies the price

LL9,750

Pays des Patriarches 2009

Grapes: Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon

Alc: 12%

Classy fruit on the nose. Good freshness in the mouth. Aged for six months in 1-year-old oak. Classic Lebanese blend. Good structure and integration. Still young, but promising.

LL15,000

 

Prestige 2009

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc,

Alc: 13.5%

Lively Cabernet Franc nose. Fruits and spices in the mouth. Good integration but still young. Eight months in new oak. Huge improvement on previous vintages.

LL22,500

Syrah 2010

Grapes: Syrah

Alc: 14%

Aged six months 1-year-old French oak. Not offensive but no wow! factor either. Classic single varietal. Decent body but lacks complexity. Then again, I am biased to red blends. Australian market should go a bundle on this and the Cabernet Sauvignon.

LL15,000

 

Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon

Alc:14%

Classic bell pepper nose. Six months in 1-year-old French oak. Still young but will evolve. Good integration. Intense fruit. If you like single varietals you’ll be a very happy camper.

LL18,000

 

* LL1,500 = $1.00

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