Category Archives: Lebanon

Chateau Kefraya Roussalka

It’s been years since I went to Lebanon but the more Lebanese wines I taste the more I want to visit again! This 2016 Chateau Kefraya Blanc de Blancs (la cuvee de Roussalka) is just one example of why we should be paying more attention to Lebanese wines.

Chateau Kefraya is the lifetime achievement of founder Michel de Bustros (1929-2016). He planted his first vines in 1951 and Chateau Kefraya as been making award-winning wines ever since. The Chateau’s wines even won medals in the early 80s when, despite the Lebanese civil war, de Bustros continued to produce wine.

Kefraya Roussalka

Located in the Bekaa Valley at the foot of Mount Barouk, Chateau Kefraya is home to a variety of soil types. Excellent sun exposure and sharp diurnal temperature changes provide lots of time for grapes to fully ripen before harvest. De Bustros believed that good wine was the result of terroir and blending.

For this line, the Blanc de Blancs, each cuvee since 2000 has been named after an opera bearing the name of a woman. The wine that began it all was ‘La Cuvee d’Aida’. This 2016 vintage is the ‘La Cuvee de Roussalka’. So while the proper name of the wine is ‘Chateau Kefraya Blanc de Blancs La Cuvee de Roussalka’ I’ve simplified it for the purposes of the post. We’ll refer to it simply as ‘Chateau Kefraya Roussalka’.

Kefraya Roussalka

Chateau Kefraya Roussalka Tasting Notes:

I’ll start out with a spoiler and say that I really liked this. The nose was both tropical (mango) and floral. On the palate it was fresh, lively, and full of flavor. I got again the tropical fruits and flowers (jasmine) but also honey and the finish was long and slightly sweet.

We drank this with a bunch of left over Turkish mezes I had in the refrigerator and it paired rather well with them. Even with the spicier mezes. It also paired well with the ever tricky asparagus!

I got this from a friend who went to Lebanon but Chateau Kefraya wines are available in several countries. I’d check out their website to see if yours is one!

Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee

A colleague recently brought two bottles of this 2012 Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee back from Beirut for me to try. While she prefers the 2010, the 2012 was all she could find but apparently the Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee is one of her favorite Lebanese wines. Being as she herself is Lebanese I will trust her judgement.

The 2012 Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee is a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon with 14% abv. Between the hand harvesting and oak treatment the grapes receive you can tell that they care about their wines at Marquis des Beys and if this is any example of the quality of their wines then the 2010 my colleague prefers must be stunning.

Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee

There’s quite a complex nose happening with the Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee. At the top I got quite a lot of black fruits but underneath was baking spice, cedar, and vanilla with hints of tobacco and chocolate.

The mouth was gorgeous with beautiful, velvety tannins and a long finish. Those tannins and the wine’s high acidity will allow this cuvee to age for a good amount of time. I got more fruit on the palate: black currents and blackberries again with tobacco and even a little leather.

Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee

So many people make the mistake of cooking with cheap wine. Like any other ingredient, the quality of the wine you use will be reflected in the quality of the dish you make. You should always cook with a wine that you would drink, and if you’re not drinking a wine that’s too precious you could even cook with it. So that’s what I did with the Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee.

I recently made a gorgeous red wine spek risotto and used some of the Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee. Not only was the risotto gorgeous, but the Marquis des Beys Grand Cuvee was both a fantastic addition to the dish and pairing.