From: Bekaa valley, Lebanon
Taste: This 2020 Tourelles Carignan Vieilles Vignes from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon is a stunning representation of the ancient Carignan grape. The wine is a deep ruby color, with a bright hue. On the nose, it reveals an enticing mix of ripe red and black fruits, such as blackberry, raspberry, and plum, accompanied by hints of dried herbs, earth, and Mediterranean spices. Subtle notes of cedar and leather emerge as the wine opens up, evoking the age-old traditions of winemaking in the Bekaa Valley.
Upon the first sip, the palate is greeted by a soft, velvety texture, like “Carignan wrapped in cashmere”. The wine showcases a beautiful balance between rich fruit flavors and vibrant acidity, with well-integrated tannins providing a gentle structure. The earthy and mineral undertones contribute to the wine's complexity, offering a delightful contrast to its fruity nature. The finish is long and persistent, leaving a lasting impression of the unique terroir of the Bekaa Valley.
Pairing: This Carignan pairs well with a variety of flavors and textures, making it an excellent choice for many dishes. Consider serving it with grilled or roasted meats, hearty stews, and rich tomato-based sauces, as the wine's acidity and tannins will complement these dishes nicely.
Regional pairing ideas: Lebanese cuisine offers a myriad of options that would complement this wine. Try pairing it with dishes like kibbeh (a meat and bulgur wheat dish), shish taouk (grilled marinated chicken skewers), or kafta (minced meat patties) to bring out the wine's vibrant fruit flavors and balance its earthy undertones.
Vegetarian pairing ideas: Vegetarians can also enjoy this Carignan with dishes like eggplant moussaka (check out Martha Rose Shulman’s Moussaka with Roasted Mushroom recipe below), stuffed bell peppers, or a hearty lentil stew. The wine's acidity and tannins will cut through the richness of these dishes, creating a harmonious and satisfying pairing.
Moussaka With Roasted Mushrooms
By Martha Rose Shulman
About. While not quite as prevalent as Cinsault and more likely to have been replanted with other varieties in the Bekaa Valley, Faouzi Issa has been searching for and acquiring as much old-vine Carignan as he can find believing, quite rightly, that like Cinsault, it is best adapted the growing conditions of Bekaa. All the same practices that makes his Cinsault so nakedly appealing are employed here – hand harvesting, strict selection, natural yeast fermentation in the estate’s ancient concrete tanks.
One of the most gentle Carignans I've tasted. It has the rugged rasp of Carignan, but it's wrapped in cashmere. - Tamlyn Currin, jancisrobinson.com
Like Cinsault, Carignan has been planted in the Bekaa Valley for two centuries and also saw its reputation decline throughout the 20th century in favor of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. While not quite as prevalent as Cinsault and more likely to have been replanted with other varieties in the Bekaa Valley, Faouzi Issa has been searching for and acquiring as much old-vine Carignan as he can find believing, quite rightly, that like Cinsault it is best adapted the growing conditions of Bekaa. While we are fans of Cinsault, our work in the Priorat has made Carignan/Cariñena/Carinyena/Mazuelo specialists so when we tasted Faouzi’s old vine Carignan we knew that it was the perfect fit for our portfolio. All the same, practices that make his Cinsault so nakedly appealing are employed here – hand harvesting, strict selection, and natural yeast fermentation in the estate’s ancient concrete tanks.
APPELLATION Bekaa Valley
SOIL Clay limestone
AGE OF VINES 50+
ELEVATION 1050 meters
FARMING Practicing organic
FERMENTATION Hand harvested, natural yeast fermentation in concrete vats
AGING 24 months in concrete vats, spontaneous malo
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