A Wine Lover’s Near Weekly Guide To $15 Wine – A Red Blend From Lebanon

Believe it or not, this is my very first review of a Lebanese wine. So it’s probably close to my first Lebanese wine. Make no mistake about it; Lebanon is on the world’s wine map and has been for several millennia. They talk about 5000 years and some say Jesus turned water into wine in Lebanon. Chateau Ksara, founded in 1857, is Lebanon’s oldest, largest, and most visited winery. Would you believe 40, 000 visits a year? The Bekaa Valley is real wine country. The vineyards are located at an average altitude of 1000 meters (over three thousand feet) and in season get water from melting snow. Summer days are hot and the nights are cool and breezy. This offering is 40% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The companion wine is a South African Cabernet Sauvignon that costs about two-thirds as much.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent 2009 13% alcohol about $15.

Let’s start with the marketing materials. “Description : This wine won a Silver Medal at the 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards. Tasting Note : Well made wine with pronounced blackcurrants on the nose with a hint of spice and menthol. Still very young but great potential. Score – 4 Stars (out of 5). Decanter World Wine Awards, 2011).” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was very, very long. It was mouth filling and multilayered. When I nibbled on Japanese rice crackers black cherries joined into the mix. This meal consisted of ground beef with salsa sitting on a bed of whole-wheat pasta. This libation offered delicious acidity and menthol. It was so long. A generous portion of Chinese hot sauce brought out the taste of metal in the juice. It was dark but still too sweet. Fresh blueberries for dessert removed that sweetness from this libation whose power remained.

The next meal centered on homemade chicken breast nuggets sauteed in a mixture of black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and chilies. In response our Lebanese friend was very long and offered forward acidity. I sensed fine tannins and some tobacco in this round blend. When paired with the side dish of eggplant and mushrooms in tomato sauce over mashed potatoes, my glass’s acidity veered out of balance but the wine was multilayered.

The final meal came out of a box. It was Eggplant Rolatini, including a sweet tomato sauce and several cheeses. Red came out of this brief encounter round and long. I sensed dark cherries. All that remained in the presence of fresh strawberries was the pleasant taste of oak.

Final verdict. I will definitely buy this wine again, including one for my wine club. I am very tempted to try another Lebanese Chateau for my expensive wine column.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but drinking fine Iwine with good company. He loves teaching computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. His European travel website is http://www.traveleuropetravel.com .

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