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Lebanon tasting notes

text and photographs © 2012 Tom Cannavan

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


Karam winery is distributed in the UK by Kingswood Wines. Tel: 020 8452 0562. See all stockists of IXSIR on wine-searcher.

red wines

Karam winery, Maison 2010
An entry level wine blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot, this has a welcoming creamy black fruit nose with a little charcoal note and traces of floral and herbal nuances. On the palate it is easy drinking and has a nice weight of straightforward black fruit with no oak. Its 12.5% alcohol means there's no heat, and a bit of rustic, grippy tannin helps the fairly low acidity in the pleasingly spicy and fruitily attractive finish. 87/100.

Karam winery, Syrah De Nicolas 2005
Only 8,000 bottles of this Syrah are produced, and it is aged for 12 months in oak. This 2005 has a little softening garnet rim to the deep colour, and a nose filled with the coconut and vanilla aromas of the oak. The fruit beneath seems ripe and dark, but the Syrah expression is not terribly distinct because of the oaky layer. On the palate the wine is full and rich, with 13.5% alcohol and a full, creamy texture. The oak dominates in the mouth too for my personal taste, adding quite dry tannins and leaving the finish just a little short of fruit as spice and charry toast follow through. 86-87/100.

Karam winery, Thouraya 2006
A warmth to the colour of this, lots of cedar and smoky, dry quite peppery and aromas. Definitely a little green, Cabernet Sauvignon character that's lovely, with the black fruit beautifully pitched. Lovely palate too, the oak a little prominent, but deliciously balanced and has lovely swirling smoke in the finish. 90/100.

Karam winery, Corpus Christi 2008
From vineyards at 1300 metres, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc has a beautifully lifted fragrance of church incense and cedar, Sandalwood and clove. Very refined black fruit, again the tiny green cardamom aromatic of Cabernet Franc adding interest. The fruit is packed onto the palate, the fat juiciness and glossy weight of black fruit is excellent, layered with spice and smoky oak. It is big, but deliciously flavoured. 91/100.

white and rosé wines

Karam winery, Cloud Nine Blanc 2011
Sémillon, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat with a modest 12.9% alcohol, the nose is dominated by the powerful musk and floral aromas of the Viognier and Muscat, with a nectarine ripeness and touches of lychee and tropical fruit. On the palate it is fresh and clean, much more lemon and lime character coming through, the finish showing some grapefruit and herbal notes. 87/100.

Karam winery, Arc-En-Ciel Rosé 2010
This rosé of 70% Syrah and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon has a peachy-pink colour and nose of mostly dry, redcurrant and cranberry aromas, though there's a touch of something grapefruity and vividly citrus too. On the palate it is dry and savoury, with plenty of acidity to keep it fresh, though perhaps the fruit could be a little more concentrated. 85/100.

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