Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lebanese Wines

So this weekend wasn't all about the Sevens.  We did get around to tasting a few new interesting and exotic wines.

I don't know about you, but for me, if I'm in a restaurant and there's something weird on the menu I have to have it.  Crocodile. Kangaroo.  Brains of any sort.  Snake.  Dog.  I've tried em all.  But for wines it's very different.  I don't know if it's the fear of having an entire bottle of something you may not like, or if it's more of a 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' mentality.  But often times I find when searching for wines, I search for the familiar.

Recently I was watching some youtube videos about wine tasting, and picked up a new perspective. Don't judge me, I know you watch youtube too.  It was Gary Vaynerchuk's in your face, no nonsense, wine education program.  He's interesting and clearly knows his shit.  Well one tidbit from him really stuck with me.  He says if you're trying to learn wine, don't order the same thing twice. Ever.  Try a new varietal or region every time and you may surprise yourself.  If nothing, you'll learn you didn't like it and that'll stick with you too!

Gary's words followed me this weekend and when I had the opportunity to sample some Lebanese wines I jumped.  I suppose I'll jump at any chance to taste wines, but that's beside the point. I had been into Solar Fine Wine in Kowloon City once before and noted what an interesting breadth of wines they carry.  They have the usual Bordeaux, Cotes de Rhone, Australia...etc., but they also offer Greek, Canadian, Lebanese, and Hungarian wines.

But Sunday was all about Lebanon.  Never having tried, or heard of Lebanese wines, I wanted to learn more.  Turns out wines been grown in the region since 2000 BC.  BC!  According to Lo Yiu Nam, our wine guide for the evening, the Lebanese wines follow a very similar style to French wines and offer lots of the same varietals such as; Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cinsaut, Carignan, and Garnacha.  There are only a few main wineries in Lebanon and here are the vineyards we tried:

Chateau Kefraya
Chateau Ksara

We started with a Chardonnay from Chateau Ksara.  Oaky, buttery, rich and delicious!  Then we moved to an entry level from Chateau Kefraya.  I really loved this wine, especially at it's price point of $106! It did taste very French.  Smooth, crisp, and would pair great with dinner.

And if I remember correctly the next one we tried was a 2006 from Ksara.  Lo informed us it was drinkable now, but still had another 10 or so good years in her.    Very French and oaky.  Finally we finished with Massaya's Syrah/I forget what blend, and we were warned that this one is still too young.  It still needs 5 more years before being ready.  Again, nice, not blow my socks off, but surprisingly good for a wine region I didn't know existed!
The 2 on the far left were out...and also the most expensive, bah!

I ended up walking out with a bottle from Georgia.  Again who knew, but in the spirit of Gary I think I'll give it a try.  Keep ya posted!

What's the strangest wine you've tried? 

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