About the wine
In the northern reaches of Lebanon - an ancient place of grape-growing and some would say among the first, where the grape was cultivated by the Phoenicians as early as the 7th century BC, and grapes would naturally creep up the sides of fearsome cedar trees in the Qannoubine Valley - this ancient heritage is being given new life in a land so often ravaged by war & manmade & natural catastrophe. For Mersel Winery, headed by winemaker Eddie Chami, some of their most hard-won grapes & beautiful fruit -- indeed what went into this wine in your shares -- come from a literal UNESCO heritage site, the Wadi Qannoubine (aka Oadi Qadisha, the Holy Valley) an unbelievably dramatic valley whose rugged cliffsides and valley floor are studded with the remains of what's known as the Forest of the Cedars of God. A place known from antiquity. Here, there are indigenous grape varieties to Lebanon being grown, vines that have survived being abandoned for many years due to a combination of factors, among them local depopulation, war, and land mines (listed by the winemaker). And yet, behold: 150-year-old vines of Merwah, an indigenous variety of Lebanon whose monovarietal expression, let alone its monovarietal, macerated expression, knows essentially no modern analog. A real, rare delight of salty/nutty/fleshy-citric verve.
Dimane, Qannboubine Valley, Lebanon. 100% Merwah, a white grape indigenous to Lebanon, from 150-year-old vines. The grapes are crushed and fermented in a combination of stainless steel and amphora, on the skins for 3 weeks with regular punch-downs. The wine is racked into stainless steel and neutral oak to age throughout the winter, then bottled unfined, unfiltered, with no SO2.
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