Domaine des Tourelles: Lebanon does Wine?? Why yes it does – and quite well.

our lovely wine hostess, Christiane our lovely wine hostess, Christiane
our wonderfully peaceful outdoor tasting area our wonderfully peaceful outdoor tasting area
old school grape press near some of their vines old school grape press near some of their vines
our final tasting... in a white chocolate cup our final tasting... in a white chocolate cup
our wine tasting area... wonderfully peaceful our wine tasting area... wonderfully peaceful
old school grape crusher just off some of the vineyards old school grape crusher just off some of the vineyards

As a wine lover, I try to take every opportunity to try local wines anywhere I travel. I bicycled around some wine districts in New Zealand sampling some of their excellent wines. I partook in Chile and Argentina. I ran through Europe quickly… just to avoid getting bogged down for weeks drinking great wine, though one night I partook of much wine and reminisced about previous travels. I’ve even written a specific post on my first excellent wine.

Suffice it to say that I take every opportunity to partake.

But I did not expect to be sampling excellent wines during this trip to the Middle East. It has turned out to be one of the many things that I have been pleasantly surprised by in this part of the world.

christiane wine hostess domaine des tourelles lebanon

our lovely wine hostess, Christiane

 

Domaine des Tourelles was one of the three wineries that I toured in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Is it the oldest wine merchant in Lebanon, with wine sales going back to the 1860s and production shortly after.

Domaine des Tourelles produces about 200,000 bottles of wine and the same number of arak (the liquor of Lebanon) at this wonderful winery. They have produced wine through the Lebanese Civil War and during the latest brush up of conflict in 2006. I was quite impressed.

I tasted a number of their wines — the 2010 rose and white options and the 2008 red wine under their general winery label – but want to specifically mention one that struck me as completely excellent and truly worth the effort to go out and find, wherever you are: the 2007 Marquis des Beys.

It was a full-bodied red, rich, and full of cherry and plum flavor. It is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend with a touch of tannin to it. It would age incredibly well, but even at its young age, it was a truly fabulous wine. First class — as was the entire tasting.

For my foodie friends and chocolate lovers… at the end of the wine tasting was this little charm. Oranjanine Triple Sec… in a white chocolate cup.

white chocolate cup orange triple sec domaine de tourelles lebanon

our final tasting... in a white chocolate cup

 

old grape press domaine des tourelles lebanon wine

old school grape press near some of their vines

 

 

tasting area domaine des tourelles lebanon wine

our wonderfully peaceful outdoor tasting area

 

 


 

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I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all. Read more by Michael Hodson and connect on Google Plus.

32 Responses to “Domaine des Tourelles: Lebanon does Wine?? Why yes it does – and quite well.” Subscribe

  1. Christine May 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    Who would have thought! How cool!

    • Michael Hodson May 2, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

      I know — I was really quite surprised. And they weren’t the only ones I tasted….

  2. Natalie May 2, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Why did I think that you were a hardened beer drinker? Is that your invitation in the first picture? Looks very posh!!

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 7:02 am #

      that was my attempt at making a little art. The brouchure with the white chocolate cup. And I am much more into wine than beer. But I’m good with beer also….

  3. Roy | cruisesurfingz May 3, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    Wow, I never even knew the Middle East had good wine. I guess it makes sense – how else would they do communion :)

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 7:03 am #

      so true!

  4. Gene Bowker May 3, 2011 at 5:55 am #

    Love that “old school” grape press. Sometimes the best things are still done the traditional way.

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 7:00 am #

      I consider myself a bit “old school,” so I shall agree with you.

  5. Erin D. May 3, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    I’ve heard several times that Lebanon had good wines — definitely sounds like a region to add to our bucket list!

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 7:00 am #

      so much going on in such a small country — really worth a visit

  6. Katherina May 3, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    Oohh… I actually know their wine! Did you also visit Chateau KSARA?
    I went to Lebanon two years ago and spent most of the time drinking lebanese wine – I particularly loved Ksara’s sparkling rosé – Sunset.

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 6:57 am #

      I didn’t do Ksara this time. I was focusing on the smaller wine makers, but…. now have more reason to go back.

  7. Ayngelina May 3, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Lebanon has wine? Now on the list of countries I must see!

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 6:57 am #

      You and I think alike in our priorities.

  8. Abby May 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    I looove Lebanese food, too. Definitely a hidden gem on the food/wine circuit. It doesn’t surprise me that the Middle Eastern climate is good for vineyards, but there’s not always a market for it, right? Someday I’ll make my way out there!

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 6:56 am #

      I am falling in love with the Middle East all over again — such a great part of the world.

  9. Debbie Beardsley May 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    I find it amazing all the places that produce wine especially the ones that you would never think about! Love to experience wine where ever I go too!

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 6:55 am #

      I try to make it a point to do so as well. Does that mean I have a problem? ;)

  10. Andrea May 3, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Wow- brillliant! I had no idea Lebanon does good wines

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 6:54 am #

      I was basically shocked as well, especially at the truly high quality of them.

  11. Nicole May 4, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Didn’t know Lebanon was notable for wine either! Love the “dessert” at the end of the tasting. :)

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 6:47 am #

      we actually had two different desserts. One in white chocolate and one in dark chocolate. But I didn’t want to gloat ;)

  12. Jim May 4, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Fantastic to read this. Opening up more about the Lebanon in such an interesting way. I’ll be right over,- rather keen on wine!

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 6:45 am #

      you’ll enjoy some more posts coming up soon then… a couple more on Lebanon wines and one on Jordanian ones.

  13. Anita May 6, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Never pass up on an opportunity to go wine tasting. Love it!

    • Michael Hodson May 7, 2011 at 6:23 am #

      words to live by…

  14. Nicole May 15, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    I think that the Phoenicians were making wine in Lebanon before Roman or Greek civilization existed . . . at least that’s what we were told as kids. The Bible does mention that Jesus performed his first miracle in Lebanon (water to wine). I haven’t had a chance to check out the rest of your blog, but I hope that you had a chance to try kibbeh nayeh and of course arak. Glad that you enjoyed the wine. Sahtain!

  15. The Sediment Blog May 24, 2011 at 2:59 am #

    Ah, but approach with caution the offspring of the ubiquitous Chateau Musar – see http://sedimentblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/offspring-of-chateau-musar.html

  16. Madeleine June 2, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    A great post and it’s great to read all the comments from people who are so surprised that Lebanon does good wine! Lebanon is really worth a visit if you’re into your food and wine.

  17. Sheryl Simon December 9, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    Wow- brillliant! Why did I think that you were a hardened beer drinker? Is that your invitation in the first picture? And they weren’t the only ones I tasted….

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