Domaine des Tourelles - Rouge 2019
Domaine des Tourelles is Lebanon's oldest commercial winery, established in 1868 by the French adventurer François-Eugène Brun. In 2000, it was bought by the Issa and Issa-el-Khoury families and today is run by Faouzi Issa and his two sisters, Christiane and Joanne, and Emile Issa-el Khoury. Faouzi — who trained at such prestigious estates as Rene Rostaing in Côte Rôtie and Château Margaux in Bordeaux — took over winemaking duties at the age of 24 and is dedicated to organic viticulture and minimal interference in the cellar. He ferments with only native yeasts, uses vegetarian fining agents when necessary, filters the wine with locally grown dried thistle and adds nothing else except for small amounts of sulfur at bottling. Faouzi is proud to be born and raised in the Bekaa Valley and wants the terroir of his home to shine through in all his wines.
Domaine des Tourelles Rouge is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and 5% Carignan from grapes dry-farmed on sandy limestone soils with clay sub-soils at an altitude of 1,050 meters in the western Bekaa Valley. All grapes are hand-harvested and fermented with native yeasts in concrete vats, blended, and aged for 2 years in concrete. Faouzi Issa wants to make wines that are ready to drink right away, and I must say that this wine is ready to drink! Mid-ruby color with soaring aromas of morello cherries, mint, ripe plum, raspberry and an alluring spicy undertone. The palate is exploding with juicy fruit flavors, svelte tannins that melt in the mouth and a refreshment that gives the wine a supreme drinkability. The finish is vibrant with an enticing balance of fruit, savory herbs and spice. This is a charming red from Lebanon, but you should not drink it just as a curiosity: it is a delightfully delicious terroir wine, a ridiculous value that deserves a spot on any serious wine lovers table. Enjoy with chicken shawarma or spicy lamb served with potatoes.