One of the great things about twitter is that you get in touch with people from all over the world who share your interests and what you’re up to. Someone I did the ol’ joint follow with, who subsequently has become a mate and a source of good info is Franck Gestin, a wine-o from Paris.
He got in touch this week to give myself and Ant plenty of tips if we were ever thinking of heading out to Lebanon. I asked whether he fancied writing it all down and we’ll pop it on the blog? So here it is in all it’s glory! Thanks Franck!
“Have you ever been to Lebanon?
If not, it’s a beautiful country to visit, especially if you are a wine-lover. I’ve been there several times, thanks to my wonderful girlfriend, and I’d like to share some of its delights with you.
Starting with the capital, Beirut: Lebanese people are not quite accustomed with drinking wines during lunch or dinner – you’ll find mostly Arak, a local Pastis-like alcohol beverage, beer or whisky on their tables – but it doesn’t mean you can’t find wine-lovers in the Cedar Country.
You might want to start with some wine shopping. Have a look at Enoteca in downtown Beirut or Vintage Wine Cellar (a little bit pricier) which have both a nice selection of Lebanese wines i.e. full-bodied syrah or cabernet-sauvignon blends that love the hot Mediterranean climate, and generous whites made out of international grapes (mainly Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Ugni-Blanc and Viognier).
If you feel like chilling out after a long day of sunbathing/wine tasting, feel free to take a glass at Iris rooftop. It’s a perfect mix between being a bar and a club, and a great place to have a glass of Chateau Musar before heading out for the night.
Another must-go-to is “Le Clé” in Hamra. It’s a typical Beiruti house where you can lay down and share your views of Lebanese culture in their beautiful, intimate garden.
But the true heart of Lebanese viticulture is in the Bekaa Valley. Start with a visit of Ksara Winery, follow with Château Marsyas (my personal favourite) and go have a lunch at “Taoulé” (“the table”) for fine, gorgeous and authentic Lebanese cuisine. It’s a pleasure for both eyes and palate.
If you feel like you haven’t brought back enough “winos souvenirs” you’ll find a very good collection of vintages and Chateau at the Beirut International Airport.
– Enoteca: Foaad Chehab Street Tabaris Tel.: +9611204377/Tel.: +9611333346
– Vintage Wine Cellars: George Haddad Street SaifiTel.: +9611970222
– Iris: An Nahar Building, Downtown Beirut, +9613090936
– Clé: Mohammed Abdel-Baki St, Beirut, +96171200712
– Ksara Winery: Bekaa Valley, Zahle, +9618813495
– Marsyas Winery: Kefraya Village, Jeb Jannine Road, Bekaa Valley, + 9611442082″
You can get in touch with Franck on Twitter @KouignAmann