Last weekend I decided to give it a try. I’d go with Club Grappe to the Bekaa to visit some wineries and learn about wine tasting. The trip early morning on Sunday in front of Futuroscope. We were a mixed group of 30 people from all ages and some foreigners, the were some first-timers and there were the regulars. It created a nice atmosphere.
After a breakfast stop, the first visit was to Coteaux du Liban. It was established Mr. Nicolas Abou Khater and it is now run by his wife and his son. The winery is small producing around 90,000 bottles per year. After a detailed visit, it was time for product tasting. Dr. Carlos Khachan gave a crash course about the subject.
After that, we continued our tour and went to Château Ksara. With around 2 million bottles a year, Ksara is a giant. This winery never stopped producing wine since 1857. Although management changed hands a few times, managers always aimed high: They wanted to reach international standards. They succeed! This place has a more commercial feel to it, it’s bigger, can accommodate several groups and they even have a restaurant and a big bar for wine tasting.
The underground natural galleries was the most striking. Very mysterious!
At around lunch time, it was time for the longest stop (since it included lunch). The bus took us to the top of a hill for Chateau Khoury! This family started producing wine quite recently. There are some some French vines since the mother is from Alsace. Jean-Paul, the son, joined his parents in working on the estate in 2005, after obtaining a degree in oenology from the University of Reims, France.
Jean-Paul showed the group around and we had lunch there. Cheese and wine please! A wine tasting session with explanations took place. This is where I tasted what was for me, the best wine. I noticed that the family names their wine after shooting stars. After many glasses of wine, I could not walk straight anymore. (I don’t usually drink any alcohol.) It was so funny!
Finally, before heading home, the last visit was to a garagiste. Not a mechanic, no 🙂 A wine producer who makes an extremely limited quantity of red wine: Le Noble.
One common thing I noticed between all the winemakers we visited: Passion for what they are doing. Although the smaller family owned wineries are facing much challenge to get their products known and sell them, they seem so attached to what they are doing that they do not despair and will not give up.
Tired but happy, I came back home with a few bottles to share with family and friends, knowledge about a subject I was curious about and happy that so many good things are happening in this little country.
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