92

2018 Domaine des Tourelles Vieilles Vignes Carignan, Bekaa Valley

( £21, 14% )

Domaine des Tourelles might not be as famous as Château Musar, at least outside Lebanon, but its wines are every bit as good, albeit in a less quirky style. French-educated Faouzi Issa sourced this intense Carignan from old-vine, organically farmed parcels in the Bekaa Valley, making a wine that is plush, concentrated and unoaked. Carignan can be a slightly rustic grape, but that’s not the case here. Wild herb aromas segue into a palate of raspberry and black cherry fruit, complemented by the freshness of a vineyard at 1,000 metres.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-25Similar Wines: £20-25, 90-95, Lebanon, Red, Carignan
90

2009 Château Marsyas, Békaa Valley

( £££, 14.2%, Contact the winery for details )

An impressive Lebanese blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, which benefits from the consultancy of Bordeaux’s celebrated Stéphane Derononcourt. The high altitude of the vines (900 metres) is reflected in the freshness of the wine, which has notes of honey and cinnamon, a twist of orange peel and a long, well-balanced aftertaste.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Lebanon, White, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
91

2009 Château Ksara, Clos St Alphonse, Bekaa Valley

( £9.49, 13%, Marks & Spencer )

It’s great to see a few Lebanese wines breaking into the retail mainstream, especially at a price and quality level such as this. It’s a blend of mostly Syrah with 30% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and it underlines the country’s potential with Bordeaux-meets-the-Rhône-Valley style blends. Elegant, sweetly oaked stuff with restrained alcohol for the Bekaa Valley, some spice and an undertone of green pepper. A very modern wine from Lebanon’s oldest winery. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, Lebanon, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz