Le Colombier Rouge 2014
Beqaa Valley, Lebanon
A blend of cinsault 35%, grenache noir 35%, syrah 15%, tempranillo 15%.
This wine is a stunner! A Rhone-style blend from vines averaging 40 yrs of age with a touch of Tempranillo from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. Full-bodied, fruit-forward, unique spice and earth tones - different & delicious to the extreme!
Lebanon is among the oldest sites for wine production in the world yet many people have never had an opportunity to try any. Despite the many conflicts of the region, the country has an annual production of about 600,000 cases of wine. Recently the sector has been witnessing unprecedented growth. The number of wineries went from 5 in 1998 to over 30 today.
Last week I tasted with Sami Ghosn, part owner and founder of Massaya.The wines hit me with a bang. They're showing a Rhone Valley expression, a savory Grenache with a mix of black and red fruits, dried herbs--exciting stuff.
Sami's story is what makes the history of the wines so interesting. He was born in Lebanon then educated abroad, eventually becoming an architect in the U.S.
Lebanon's civil war forced the Ghosn family to flee the Beqaa Valley and now Sami and his brother Ramzi are back. In 1990 Sami had a vision and a determination to reclaim the property where he had grown up. He urgently wanted to reassert his family’s rights and most of all he wanted to transform this ruin into a center for high quality wine and arak production. The brothers realized they needed guidance for such a project. In comes one of the leading families from Chateauneuf du Pape, the Bruniers from Vieux Telegraph. Not only are they investing in the project, they are part owners. As Sami told me he wanted someone who would get their hands dirty.
I found the wines to be truly exciting with a sense of place. Yes, they are very much like the Southern Rhone, but they have another element setting them apart. This delicious bottle is a great chance to experience a taste of Lebanon.