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  • Writer's pictureWines & Vines

Chateau Ksara Old Vine Carignan - 2018, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

In the words of the legendary MW Jancis Robinson: “ Old-vine Carignan grapes, fully ripened on infertile soils in a warm summer, produce by far the best Carignan wine.” Château KSARA’s Old-vine Carignan has confirmed it, indeed! The grape is grown on 60-year-old vines at over 1,200 meter, dry- farmed and hand-harvested at low yields in mid- September.

KSARA’s innovative approach in producing single varietal old-vine Carignan is a testament of honoring a grape that has been instrumental in the Lebanese wine industry for over a century. Carignan is believed to be a Spaniard, known in Spain as Cariñena, or Mazuelo in Rioja, Carignano in Italy, and Carignane in California; this late- ripening grape has been thriving in Lebanon’s unique terroir for over 160 years. In Lebanon it kept its French name, a homage

to the fundamental French influence on the

Lebanese wine industry.

Carignan is typically produced as a blending companion to other varieties, but to understand the true potential of this fussy grape you need to taste it produced as a single varietal. With the modern evolution in wine- making, we could say: Carignan is finally finding its true identity!

Tasting Notes:

Ruby color with intense aromas of cherry, plum, blackcurrant, licorice, and kirsch, with herbal and floral notes, topped with hints of cinnamon. The wine is dry, has medium tannin, medium plus acidity, medium alcohol and medium body, it finishes with pleasant layers of confirmed flavors.

Chateau Ksara is the oldest winery in Lebanon. It was founded in 1857 by the Jesuit order, who began farming a 25-hectare plot of land in the Bekaa valley, home to one of the largest temples of Bacchus, the god of wine, and grape harvest.

The estate sits on a cave that was discovered in 1898 comprising 2 km of underground tunnels with the perfect year-round temperature of between 13-15C, ideal conditions to store wine and a testament to nearly 5000 years of wine-making and wine-trading pioneered by the Phoenicians, one of the world’s oldest merchant civilizations.

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