Vol 3 No 10 Chateau Belle-Vue revisited

I originally wrote about this wonderful Lebanese winery that is doing everything right, a year ago. You might want to look to Vol. 2 No 7 because it is worth the effort. To recap this is a small production winery located in the mountains east of Beirut, in a small town Naji Boutros grew up in. After coming to the U.S. to attend Notre Dame (see the post for the details), he met his wife Jill there. After a successful career as an investment banker in London, he returned home to try to improve life for the people of his small town and make great wines. Unlike many newly-wealthy people now ‘investing’ in wineries, theirs is not to make a profit but to promote their wines and they have succeeded in causing more than a dozen new wineries to open. The original Lebanese wineries were in the Bekaa Valley such as Chateu Mazur, which has been there much longer.

The beautiful thing about Belle-Vue’s location (again see the post for the details of the name, etc.), is it is near Beirut, has a wonderful lodge and restaurant and has an ideal setting and soils to produce award-winning wines. Their three main grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and an incredible Syrah! They produce a small amount of other wines but those are served in the restaurant and not exported.

Here are the two available in the U.S:

Chateau Belle-Vue La Renaissance. Note that the current release is their 2009, a Left-Bank blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It has medium tannins and will be long-lived. I previously had the 2007 and it is nowhere near its peak.

For the first time Le Chateau has been offered in the U.S. This 2009 is much more forward and filled with lush fruit. Bordeaux? Rhone? No, a Rhodeaux! Okay, TB coined the name because it is an unusual blend of Cabernet Franc, SYRAH, and Merlot. Huh? How did they come up with this? Barrel sampling and everytime these three grapes blended the best so they decide to be somewhat ‘Rhone Ranger’s of Lebanon’, and the result is stunning. I love this wine and the price of around $59 may sound high but consider their production is very limited…how limited? It is measured in thousands of bottles…bottles not cases!

I bought it at the Wine Republic in Excelsior, MN, but it is available in other states too. As the saying goes…try it, you’ll like it! I did!

Au revoir for now…

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