Le Monde report: Château Marsyas, The Grapes of Hope

by Heidi Chan
Translated title of article: In Lebanon, The Grapes (fruit) of Hope
Source: Le Monde
Stéphane Lagoutte from Le Monde reports after a trip out East in Lebanon.


(Photo Above: Karim and Sandro Saadé)

It was a pleasant afternoon enjoying barrel blending experience. Stéphane Lagoutte was sitting with the Saadé brothers Karim and Sandro, owners of Château Marsyas here in the Bekaa Valley and Domaine de Bargylus in Syria. Together with oenologist  adviser Stéphane Derenoncourt who arrived from France for this tasting session, they started off by tasting the wines separately - 17 batches of barrel samples - then creating a series of ‘assemblages’ for the 2015 vintage. Some of these wine samples were collected in small plastic water bottles, not presented in a way that is as fancy as many thought it would be, but the journey wasn’t trivial: they were all coming straight from Syria by taxi. 

In the wine cellar of Château Marsyas, which houses a dozen of stainless steel tanks and a hundred of oak barrels, about one third of them will be the tasted. Derenoncourt was so focused on the gustatory marathon as he wrote scrupulously in a notebook.  

Mortar fire

This might sound a bit crazy to produce wine in a country at war.  Located inside the conflict zone, the fighting broke out fewer than 500 meters away from the vineyard. Even after the war has now come to an end, the city requires checkpoints and is armed with security forces. "If you start a vineyard you want to make wine, you got to have confidence in the future, in the piece of land we have chosen. There's risk in growing grapes here but it shouldn't be the reason stopping us from making quality wines." 

Wines from Domaine de Bargylus and Château Marsyas

A combination of weather extremes heat waves and coolness, producing fine and complex wines. ...

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