Adapted from Winewriting 03 March 2016 Posted by Richard Mark James
As a timely update to my substantial Lebanese wine and food page, the latest vintages from a widely exported winery Château Ksara is reviewed below.
You’ll see from my previous ramblings and musings about Ksara (follow the HERE link as mentioned above to my Lebanon archive page) that I’ve been disappointed with their wines in the past, but this time I seem to have been more impressed and liked a few of them in particular when tasting the whole range again. They claim to be “the country’s oldest winery” – Jesuits bought the property (pic. top taken from their site) in the mid 19th century and planted more vineyards etc. – and it’s been owned by a consortium backed by theSara family since 1973 overseen by long-standing chairman Zafer Chaoui. www.chateauksara.com
2013 Chardonnay – Nutty and oaky touches enhanced by sweet citrus fruit and some freshness still too, drinking now. Nice Chardy but expensive at nearly £14 (unless that’s a restaurant list price?).
2014 Gris de Gris rosé – Zingy and lively redcurrant and berry fruit, gets creamier on the palate vs zesty finish. Attractive mouthful and style. £9
2013 Le Prieuré red (Carignan, Cab Sauv, Mourvedre) – Ripe and ‘resin-y’ vs spicy / herby nose, firm fresh and structured mouth-feel vs a lusher side with perfumed fruit. Nice red. £8.15
2013 Reserve du Couvent red (Cab Sauv, Syrah, Cabernet Franc) – Leafy / cedary with cassis and black cherry, pretty firm palate vs powerful and concentrated. A tad ‘extracted’ but has good depth of fruit. £9
2012 Clos St Alphonse red (Syrah, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc) – Aromaticcassis and dark cherry with maturing savoury edges, ‘crunchier’ fruit and quite firm on the palate at first but finishing with a lusher softer texture, quite powerful and long too. Marks & Spencer does a goodown-label version of this for £10.
2012 Cuvée IIIeme Millenaire (Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah) – Cedar and red pepper hints vs lush dark olive and cherry, better tannins and concentrated with enticing sweet/savoury fruit finish. Good. £24
2010 Le Souverain (50-50 Cab Franc-Arinarnoa (Petit Verdot/Merlot crossing apparently)) – Cedar and red pepper notes again, pretty dense extracted and firm mouth-feel with smoky oak but it’s very concentrated; still surprisingly young although it is quite firm and oaky. £37