Chateau Ksara’s maiden release Merwah is an attractive expression of this ancient biblical variety that combines Lebanon’s formidable vine growing terroir with top winemaking expertise. Produced from grapes harvested from vines that are over 60 years old grown on the terraced hillside slopes of the tiny North Lebanese village of Douma which is situated at over 1,500 meters in altitude.
Pesticides and herbicides are not used, so the grapes are grown almost organically. The soil ranges from chalk, to clay and chalk, to clay and limestone, but it is always stony. The Merwah grapes were harvested at very low yields in mid-October and vinified with minimal intervention. The yields were 37 hectolitres per hectare and the wine was given some lees ageing but saw no oak treatment.
This white wine is a true rarity with Merwah seldom bottled as a single variety but usually blended with Lebanon’s other indigenous white variety Obaideh or else Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon. Quantities are very limited but it will be worth the effort to track down a bottle to experience this ancient grape variety in the form of wine and not Arak.
Chateau Ksara Merwah 2017, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, 12.5 Abv.
Crystalline bright lemon yellow colour, this exotic little white has an aromatic nose of fresh lemon zest, white peach blossoms and dusty dried baking herbs with just a hint of crushed gravel minerality. The palate is medium bodied, relatively taut but deliciously vibrant and fresh. There is textural weight and a sleek, seamless mouthfeel with layers of lemon biscuit, Japanese green tea, lemon bon bons, white peach pastille finishing with a juicy green apple crunch. A wine that is beautifully light and fine boned but that also confidently conveys a focused vinous intensity. Delightfully refreshing, this is definitely one of the summer months. Drink now to 2022+
(Wine Safari Score: 91+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)