Monday, 30 November -0001

Wines of the week: 3 August

This week I'm drinking: Middle East wines

Written by Henry Jeffreys

I was delighted to hear about a Syrian winery, Domaine Bargylus, whose wines are now on sale in Britain. Syria has a sizeable Christian minority and wine has been made here for thousands of years, but this is the first modern winery with serious export ambitions. Its red certainly tastes ambitious: it’s a powerfully oaked blend of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet made in conjunction with Stéphane Derenoncourt, a consultant who has worked with some of the biggest names in Bordeaux.

Domaine Bargylus 2008, £25.57: www.wineandco.co.uk

I found the red a little overwhelming, but this white, an unusual blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, is much more palatable – if rather expensive. There’s some beautifully judged new oak, some butterscotch and then a prickle of grapefruit.

Château Ksara Rouge 2008, £16.49, Hailsham Cellars: www.hailshamcellars.com

The modern Lebanese wine industry is the legacy of the French protectorate and the wines definitely have a French flavour. From Lebanon’s oldest winery, this Bordeaux blend is richly blackcurranty with a fragrance that almost brings to mind Saint Emilion and a pungency crying out for roast lamb.

Cadet de Ka 2008, £8.49, M&S: www.marksandspencer.com

Another blend of Bordeaux varieties, this has a wonderfully expressive nose of tobacco, leather and cinnamon. In the mouth it’s warm and mellow, like an exotic Eastern claret.

Château Musar Blanc 2004, £16.99, Majestic: www.majestic.co.uk

Treat this white much as you would the red: decant at least a day before serving to take full advantage of its layers of honeyed, nutty flavours. The longer it’s open, the better it gets. Probably my favourite Lebanese wine, but may not be for everyone.



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