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Lebanon tasting notes

text and photographs © 2012 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Wines of Lebanon.


Domaine des Tourelles is distributed in the UK by Boutinot Ltd, Tel: +44 (0)161 908 1300. See all stockists of Domaine Des Tourelles on wine-searcher.

red wines

Domaine Des Tourelles, Rouge 2004
100% concrete fermented and aged. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Lovely colour, just developing a little warmth on the rim. Big stewed fruit nose, with some vegetal, rhubarb notes and some juicy blackcurrant coming through. The palate has delicious juiciness to the fruit, the texture quite full and the tannins now very soft and voluptuous, and gentle acidity leading to a soft, but elegant, spicy finish. 89/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Rouge 2006
Same blend. Much more focused, tight, pure black fruit without the stewed quality of the 2004: really much deeper, more tightly wound and smaller herb and olive influences in the background. The palate has lovely cool, spicy, tight blackcurrant fruit with great composure, the tannins tighter and very chalky and refined, lovely acids. A terrific wine that has a great future. 90-91/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Rouge 2009
45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45%Syrah, 10% Cinsault. Inky black colour and also has a little dusty, inky impression of dryness on the nose, a tight raspberry focus beneath. The fruit comes through elegantly and nicely with a tight, juicy black fruit, edged with a tight mineral quality but still sweet and juicy at the core. A lovely wine again that will be better in a few years. 89/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Rouge 1989
Made long before Faouzi 's time of course, but this and the next wine poured for interest. Lovely garnet colour, with a creaminess and ground almond, lovely gentle raspberry fruit. The palate has lovely coffee and dry extract still, deliciously drinkable. 90/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Rouge 1976
At this time the vineyards where 100% Cinsault. No oak aging. Past its best with lots of decay and very old, oxidised bruised fruit, with some sweet edges to the gentle, delicate rose fruit. Very interesting, lingering impression of fine old fruit on the palate, and really enjoyable in its way. 88/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Marquis des Beys 2005
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Syrah, 1/3 new French oak, 2/3 used French oak. 14.5%. A high acid vintage. Has a little of that cooked fruits and tinned Italian tomato character of slightly under-ripe Cabernet. The Syrah adding more ripe black fruit beneath. The palate is really quite velvety, with a big core of silky black fruit and very nice, tight, defining mineral acidity and dry tannic structure pushing through. Delightful, tiny green herb and bay notes into the finish. Delicious and youthful. 90/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Marquis des Beys 2006
Lots of sur-maturité here, with a slightly stewed, vegetal note and the plummy fruit beneath. The palate has masses of sweetness, with a little smoked meat character and very refined tannins that are juicy and vital, but not at all dry. Quite long, but I prefer the style of the 2005 in some ways. 89/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Marquis des Beys 2009
There's a meatiness here and lots of tight black fruit, with forest fruits and glossy dark flavours smoothed by Sandalwood and creamy spice. The palate has lots of tannin at this stage, lots of inky, youthful tannic character, but the charm of the fruit comes through so sweetly and purely. 91/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Syrah du Liban 2007
100% Syrah in all new American oak barrels. Lovely nose, the spices and hint of coconutty richness from the American oak (not overdone) sits with the lovely weight of fruit, a deep pool of black flavour and touches of floral and peppery exotic notes. The palate has wonderful richness and flavour, with huge silky texture and such a sexy black fruit, spice and long, pure finish. 92/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Syrah du Liban 2009
Similar nose, but has a little more fruit focus, with a touch a smoky bacon and the berry fruit, and a lovely velvety depth to the aromas again with some rose-like nuances to the perfume that are wonderfully Lebanese. The juiciness of the finish is lovely too, lots of cherry and tight acids, giving a very long finish. From 35 year old vines. 92-93/100.

white and rosé wines

Domaine Des Tourelles, Blanc 2011
45% Chardonnay, 40% Viognier, 15% Muscat d'Alexandrie. No oak aging. Very delicate nose, just gentle herbal aromatics, dried herbs and plenty of apricot and creamy fruit, but tight and (served very cold) quite steely and appley. The palate has weight and texture, the Viognier coming through with powerful, juicy and quite fat flavours and plenty of acidity keeping this fresh and with a lemony and apple-skin bite into the food-friendly finish. 89/100. This wine will be listed by Marks & Spencer in May 2012.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Rosé 2010
Tempranillo, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite a deep colour, but it has a peachy/salmon hue. Very nice, herb and vinous nose, with a delicate meatiness and earthiness, and lightly creamy red fruit aromas. The palate has a firm, briary and savoury herb and berry fruit, fresh on the finish. Faouzi says it is in the "last phase" of freshness. A gastronomic wine. 86/100.

Domaine Des Tourelles, Rosé 2011
A quick taste of the 2011 from tank showed much brighter raspberry fruit, much more guava and lychee tropicality that is missing in the older wine, with clear fruit definition. Delightful. Still has savoury acidity, an earthiness and dry tannic grip in the finish, but a lovely style. 87-88/100.

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