Lebanese winemaking was revived in 1857, when Jesuit monks planted Cinsaut vines from Algeria at Chateau Ksara near Zahlé in the central Bekaa Valley. In 1868 a French engineer, Eugène François Brun, set up Domaine des Tourelles, and others followed, notably Gaston Hochar's Chateau Musar in 1930. Musar would become the standard bearer for Lebanese wines in the West, famous for taking grapes through the front lines of the Lebanese Civil War which separated the vineyards from the winery. The French influence between the World Wars promoted a culture of wine drinking, as did the sophisticated Mediterranean culture of Beirut at that time. Lebanese winemakers have favoured French grapes, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlotand Rhone varietals such as Cinsaut, Carignan and Grenache.
However Lebanon has a rich heritage of indigenous grapes which are attracting more attention, for instance Musar White is made from a blend of Obaideh and Merwah.
Chateau Musar Red, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, 2015
An equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault, produced originally by master winemaker Serge Hochar, the wine spent a year in French Nevers oak barrels. 40 year old vines...
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