Domaine des Tourelles - Red Blend 2021
Lebanon’s rich history in wine dates back over 6000 years when grape vines were first planted in the Bekaa Valley, the Middle East’s agricultural heartland. It was the Phoenicians in 3000 BC that began to travel from this land and spread viticulture across the Mediterranean. Just take a look at the incredible temple of Bacchus (Roman god of wine) located in the city of Baalbek to see the cultural significance wine has to this region and to the entire world.
The modern era of Lebanese wine began in 1857 when Jesuit monks founded Chateau Ksara planting Cinsault and Carignan vines in the Bekaa Valley. This region is located just 25 miles east of Beirut, between Mount Lebanon and Syria, and is well-suited to viticulture with a warm sunny Mediterranean climate, low annual rainfall, and cool mountainous nights. Bekaa’s wine industry still has a decidedly French influence today, with plantings of French varietals from Bordeaux and the Rhone forming the core of many of the wines. It was a Frenchman, Francois-Eugene Brun, who founded Domaine des Tourelles in 1868 planting their first vines in the town of Chtaura, halfway between Beirut and Damascus.
Tourelles’ 2019 Red is a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Carignan, and 10% Cinsault, from 20 year old vines, all dry-farmed, and planted at 3400 ft in elevation. What sets this wine apart from other Lebanese wines I have tried is the freshness and the balance. Winemaker Faouzi Issa is a star, he trained at Chateau Margaux, then with Rene Rostaing in the Rhone. Faouzi uses no oak on this red. All fermentation is natural with indigenous yeasts, and ageing takes place in concrete tanks, introducing oxygen slowly and preserving the purity of his exceptional fruit. The nose is instantly captivating, there’s a familiarity but with some new intriguing appeal. Bold fruit notes of ripe raspberry, red cherry and plum have you thinking new world at first. But then there’s Mediterranean herbs, spiced meats, floral overtones, and fresh minerals that pull your senses to southern France or maybe northern Italy? And that’s just the beginning! A silky pure red-fruited palate follows. Restrained and incredibly well-balanced with a fine core of tannins, and long fresh finish bright with limestone minerals bringing you back for more. Dazzling now and I expect this’ll age for another 5-6 years easily. Under $20 a bottle? This is a spectacular buy. Bordeaux and Rhone fans will love this red and Tuscan drinkers too. Don’t miss it.
Vintages and ratings subject to change at any time.
All pricing and availability subject to change.
Artwork does not necessarily represent items for sale.