Despite being one of the oldest wine production regions in the world, Lebanon’s wine industry is somewhat underdeveloped. And it’s hard not to smirk at the irony given that it was the ancient Venetians from the same region who, according to ancient history, were largely responsible for spreading viticulture across Europe.
I had never had the pleasure of drinking Lebanese wines until I recently visited a great new Lebanese restaurant at Ocean Street at Maroochydore. There, the owners of Zahtar, Sarah Griffin and George Bou Mansour have complemented their authentic cuisine from the homeland with a number of the country’s own wines on their cartes des vins.
The reds were generally blends and dry in style, but most displayed ample fruit at the front and were well matched with the spicy Lebanese dishes. Perhaps the pick of them was the Chateau Khoury cuvée Ste Thérèse 2007. It’s a blend of a grape called Caladoc (a crossing between Grenache and Malbec) and Pinot Noir so it’s predictably light but still a cherry red in colour in the glass.
There’s a plumpness to the ripe (at most) medium bodied fruit in the mouth but in an even handed kind of way. Soft tannins take good care of the finish where it’s as clean as a whistle and lingers well beyond the wake of the mouthfuls of spicy lamb and hummus that it followed.
A wine as delicious as this is good buying at sub $40 on a restaurant wine list and makes it even more worthwhile tracking down the Coast’s newest source of great Lebanese cuisine!