Château Kefraya’s Comte de M 2009, Robert Parker, and not slumming it


Mark Squires (, writing in Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, recently awarded Château Kefraya’s 2009 Comte de M a score of 92/100.

This is what he had to say: “The 2009 Comte De M is a blend of approximately two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and one third Syrah, aged for 16 months in French oak (85% new). This is a big boy this year, powerful, beautifully structured, ripe and concentrated. The gorgeous fruit is simply delicious, although admittedly a bit too marked by oak at the moment. It should easily have enough of an aging curve to absorb it. In fact, as I let it sit, it showed some steel and the oak began to be absorbed. There was some purity of fruit coming through. This rather rich wine is not a simpleton. It is also well-supported by its backbone, becoming more powerful and serious as time goes on. There is a little astringency at the moment. It will be interesting to see how well this develops in the cellar, but it certainly promises to be fantastic in a year or three when it settles down. It is not quite at peak now, but it is certainly approachable if you give it some air. Kefraya has a winner here and it is attractively priced, too. Drink now-2023.”

Mark Squires

Mark Squires

In other words, “a bit young but has potential”.

Back in the day, they used to say that if Parker a wine of 92 you couldn’t find it; under 92 and you couldn’t sell it. So a big hurrah! for Kefraya and winemaker Fabrice Guiberteau.

The Comte de M?

Who was Le Comte de M?

Squires declared that the wine was “not quite at it’s peak but certainly approachable”. In the summer of 2012, I reported that the 09 had “intense spices on the nose”. That it was “fresh and fruity in the mouth with nicely integrated tannins. There are flavors of leather, cassis, tobacco and bell pepper.”

Taste is affected by emotion, location, mood, the company one keeps and a whole host of other intangibles that can define how we react to a wine. So I opened a bottle on Thursday lunchtime and tucked-in on Friday night. This time, I was taken by the wonderful mineral freshness on the front palate, the imperial elegance of the fruit, and the way in which 24 hours in the decanter appears to have taken some of the edge off the oak, leaving a pleasant peppery dryness rather than a disquieting astringency. Squires suggested that the 09 would be “fantastic” in a year or three. I would wager sooner rather than the later.

Parker and his team have always courted controversy (,_Jr.#Parker.27s_100-point_rating_system) and it is an almost inevitable fact of life that one will make enemies when dealing with the world’s most sacred wineries, and although I have not met him, I am told that the great man can be quite prickly.

Robert Parker

Robert Parker

But bottom line his organization can move markets and Kefraya, whose Comte de M 96 was the first Lebanese wine to step out of Château Musar’s shadow, must be applauded for making, not only a fine wine, but one that reached out to Parker HQ and boosted Lebanon’s wine credentials.

For that it gets 100/100!

We don’t do cheap

All the major producers have a ‘muscular’ wine, the latest to land on our palate is Ixsir’s El ( and the Atibaia 09 of which I have written the following. “Aged for 14 months in Limosin oak, the wine has a dark purple hue. The nose is powerful, giving the impression of a wine that still needs time, but in the mouth it has excellent tannic integration and good balance even if it does wobble slightly on the mid-palate. There are flavors of vanilla and blackcurrant with hints of spice and leather. The finish is smooth and sustained with notes of red forest fruits and bell pepper.”

But at around $50 on the local market, both aren’t cheap.

Lebanon is a funny place. Our natural, and some would say admirable, instinct is not to do cheap, but ironically some of our most enjoyable wines are the most affordable, and these have been the ones that have made the most impact outside Lebanon simply because they are the most competitively priced.

Our best wines are dressed in only the finest oak

Our best wines are dressed in only the finest oak

But with our limited quantities the endgame surely has to be building a reputation around our premium wines, but this will only happen when the consumer knows enough about Lebanon as a bona fide producer to feel comfortable paying top dollar for the Atibaias of this world. So there is still much more work to be done, selling of Lebanon as a producer of limited quantities of high-end wine.


In the meantime, back in Beirut, people are going to continue to demand the best, and our best could do a lot worse.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    hisham said,

    Was 1996/PARKER/91 with oak OTT?

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