Scrumptious stuff from the Middle East!

I recently attended a tasting of wines devoted to the less well known vine-growing parts of the world, including Japan, India, Brazil and, of all places Lebanon! Domaine des Tourelles is amongst the longest-established and most highly acclaimed wineries in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Founded in 1868 by French adventurer François-Eugène Brun the property was the first commercial cellar in the country producing wines, arak and other spirits. In 2000 the last of the Brun family died and the estate was bought by close friends the Issa family. Faouzi Issa graduated with winemaking and viticultural degrees from Bordeaux and Montpellier Universities, then trained in the Rhône and at Château Margaux before moving back to Tourelles. Faouzi has secured the future of this noble estate by introducing “a few modernities here and there..” but is adamant that the ancient, battle – scarred vineyards continue to be the expression and philosophy of the estate and is proud of the winery’s strong francophile links. His red is a succulent blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault. With abundant cassis and ripe morello cherry fruit this is complex and multi-layered with firm yet appealing tannins and some spice on the finish, a beautifully balanced wine with perfectly integrated oak. Great stuff at just £9.59 a bottle. If you fancy something a bit different on the dinner table give this one a go – you won’t be disappointed.