(2020) A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, 15% Carignan and 5% Cinsault, this is fermented with native yeasts and made in concrete vats, unflitered and unfined to give what Tourelles describe as "A true expression of the Bekaa Valley." There's an honest, rustic authenicity about it, plum and cherry fruit, damp earth, a suggestion of briar wood and herbs. In the mouth the sweet ripeness of the fruit is striking, a big and bountiful plateful of black cherries and summer berries, but those firm tannins, good juicy acids and a bit of serious, sinewy structure give it some food-friendly heft and probably fair longevity too. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. Quite widely available.
(2019) A still wine, made from 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon and 20% Chardonnay grown at altitude in the Bekaa Valley. It has a really pretty nose, much more on the summer flowers and exotic fruit spectrum than anything more grassy given the majority Sauvignon in the blend, delicate spice and pot-pourri notes add interest. In the mouth some oak-ageing is evident (presumably the Chardonnay proportion) adding toast and a butteriness, but a big thrust of pithy lemon and grapefruit pushes through crisply. Highly quaffable, highly enjoyable.
(2019) What a lovely Bordeaux lookalike this is, blending 60% old vines Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, and aged in new French oak. There's a rich, primary black berry fruit density on the nose, but spice and hints of game and cedar too, a lovely hint of tertiary development just starting to creep in. In the mouth espresso backs up the seam of blackcurrant, a tingle of clove spice and very polished tannins give volume, and the acidity is excellent, drawing the wine to a long, fine finish.
(2018) With fascinating coincidence I tasted this white wine immediately after tasting an excellent Assyrtiko from Greek producer Akrathos. Fascinating because Château Ksara have described this 100% Merwah wine as Lebanon's answer to Assyrtiko. I've rarely tasted Merwah before, and mostly that was as an important part of the blend in the white wine of Château Musar, which is a very different beast from this. Quite fragrant and bright with apples and lemons, the palate has a distinctly salty character, like sucking on a salted lemon, but there is fat and hints of a greengage plum roundness too - despite only having 12.5% alcohol - in a wine that will appeal to those keen to try something different, though perhaps best drunk with fish or a prawn or lobster pasta perhaps. Watch the video for more information.
(2016) Lebanon once again finds itself next door to terrible conflict in Syria, but the winemakers of this beautiful country are pretty unshakable now, and business carries on in face of adversity. I've recently reviewed 30 rosé wines in my annual round-up, but there are so many around that I will be adding a supplement with another dozen soon. One of them will be this unusual blend of Tempranillo and Rhône varieties from Lebanon's Domaine des Tourelles, a fruity but savoury interpretation, deeper in colour than the ubiquitous Provence examples, but with a good food-friendly depth. Watch the video for more detail and food-matching ideas.
(2012) Beautifully resolved nose, the combination of the black fruits, the tight-grained, lightly cedary oak and the mineral character is lovely. The palate has such a delightfully savoury, spice and cedar-spiked quality, with a real grip to the tannins and juicy acidity. This is perhaps erring on the dry side, but is such a lovely wine too with delicious fruit. Hard to say if it should be kept for 10 years or drunk, but another fine wine.
(2012) Six months in third use oak. Ruby colour, dark but not dense. Slightly baked quality to the fruit, big creaminess, with some cherry. Spices and touches of that baked characters on the palate again. Good Pinot character though, and whilst that baked quality is a little off-putting, a successful wine.
(2012) 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45%Syrah, 10% Cinsault. Inky black colour and also has a little dusty, inky impression of dryness on the nose, a tight raspberry focus beneath. The fruit comes through elegantly and nicely with a tight, juicy black fruit, edged with a tight mineral quality but still sweet and juicy at the core. A lovely wine again that will be better in a few years.
(2012) More Carignan and Mourvèdre here. A slightly more tarry, animal touch to the nose, but some floral and exotic lift too, the oak a little more background. The palate has delicious juiciness, the freshness and fullness of the fruit is excellent, but the tannins really grip, drying the front of the mouth and along with the good acidity, spices and the toastiness of the oak, a complex and very satisfying finish here.
(2012) Still a very deep, dark colour. Syrah replaced the Petit Verdot at this time. Lovely meaty and swirling smoky nose, but not at the expense of some lovely black fruit. Spices and tobacco notes. The fruit has fine, lightly salty and mineral character, with the fruit fading just slightly now, but not without charm at all, whilst the slightly astringent finish, but delicious.