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Lebanon tasting notes

text and photographs © 2012 Tom Cannavan

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


Château Kefraya is distributed in the UK by Lebanese Fine Wine. Tel: +44 20839 9272. See all stockists of Château Kefraya on wine-searcher.

red wines

Château Kefraya, Les Bretèches 2009
Cinsault 67%, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan. Smoky, soft, delicate rose-hip fruitiness and cherry ripe fruit. The palate has a little dryness, some bright, easy-drinking red fruits and a bit of more rustic, grippy tannin. 85-86/100.

Château Kefraya, 2008
Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Carignan. Aged in French barrels for 16 months, 50% new, 25% each one and two year old. A touch of Brettanomyces here perhaps, just giving a slightly animal edge to quite ripe fruit. The palate has a nice creamy weight, the tannins dry and if there is Brett, it is not obvious. A slightly chalky feel to the tannins in the finish and a warming spice and softness. 87-88/100.

Château Kefraya, 2007
Also has some Mourvèdre in the blend. Don't get the bretty note here, so maybe I was wrong on the 2008, it is tighter and more black fruited in character, with a dustiness and quite fine fruit quality. A little softness and age on the palate, with a spice and smoke underlay to autumnal fruits. 87-88/100.

Château Kefraya, 2006
Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Mourvèdre. The nose is quite closed on this, with some woodsmoke and tightly structured and a real tight black fruit focus. Tannins really quite structured, by far the grippiest and most serious wine of the trio so far, but nicely balanced and showing real length. 89-90/100.

Château Kefraya, Comte de M 2008
Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, a touch of Mourvèdre and Carignan, a selection of the best vineyards at 1,100 metres. Aged in all new French oak. Lots of spicy oak here, lots of toast and a touch of marzipan, quite buttery. The fruit has a lovely dry extract richness and smoothness, with plum and cherry melding with tobacco notes and some chocolaty density to the tannins. Smooth and rich and very young. 90/100.

Château Kefraya, Comte de M 2007
More Carignan and Mourvèdre here. A slightly more tarry, animal touch to the nose, but some floral and exotic lift too, the oak a little more background. The palate has delicious juiciness, the freshness and fullness of the fruit is excellent, but the tannins really grip, drying the front of the mouth and along with the good acidity, spices and the toastiness of the oak, a complex and very satisfying finish here. 91/100.

Château Kefraya, Comte de M 2006
Fragrant, bountiful, chocolaty notes yes, but floral and lifted too with very ripe and rich berry fruit. The palate has a juiciness and a big core of creamy black fruit, but again that lovely tannic structure is silky and chocolaty, with a long, fresh finish focused on dry extract fruit characters. Quite serious stuff, and should age. 92/100

Château Kefraya, Comte de M 2005
Tight, sinewy, glossy black fruit with tight aromatics, blackcurrant and black cherry, a touch of violet and kirsch. The palate has a soy and umami savour, with a nice balance of sweet-edged fruit and lemony acidity against nicely pitched tannins, perhaps could have just a touch more flesh. 89-90/100.

Château Kefraya, Comte de M 2003
Just a touch of funky, beginnings of decay on this, the fruit ripe and sweet behind, with some truffle notes adding to that maturing impression. The palate has that little disjoint of over-ripeness and slightly drying, furry tannins. A nice wine, but the sweetness and the juiciness just slightly overpowered by the rather rustic tannins. 88/100.

white, rosé and sweet wines

Château Kefraya, Vissi d'Arti Blanc de Blancs 2008
Chardonnay-based blend. Creamy oak, nutty, crushed oatmeal, perhaps rather too cold to taste sympathetically, the oak wraps around the fruit, adding spice and more oatmeal smoothness to the dry fruit. Fine, but perhaps lacks a little sweetness and freshness on the finish for me. 87/100

Château Kefraya, Cuvée de Lakmé Blanc de Blancs 2011
Blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Muscat a Petit Grains. Nice expressive nose with green herbs and punchy grassy notes, rounded out with a little apple and pear and a little nuttiness. Lovely juicy fruit and quite long, and I like the acidity that is well-pitched giving this broad food-matching appeal but a juicy vitality. 89/100.

Château Kefraya, Myst Rosé 2011
Cinsault, Grenache, Tempranillo, Syrah, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, Marselan and Cabernet Franc made as a saignée. Pale to medium, peachy pink. Fruity, lightly grassy and herby nose, with a touch of light earthiness. Nice touch of creaminess on the palate, with creamy strawberry and good, fresh acidity and a soft finish. 87/100.

Château Kefraya, Lacrima d'Or 2004
Vin doux Naturel. Clairette, nice sweet flavours, pear and a touch of honey. Good acidity and if rather indistinct, delicious with various desserts over lunch. 87-88/100.

Château Kefraya, Nectar de Kefraya
Ugni Blanc brandy blended with grape juice. Lovely walnutty richness and toast and marmalade, with delicious lemon and tangerine fruit. Gorgeous sweetness and length here, complex but sweet and soft Cognac flavours with a little finishing sweetness. 90/100.

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