INSIDE DOMAINE DES TOURELLES
A huge thanks to our wine supplier, Alexander Wines, for treating Restaurant Manager, Anna, to two days exploring the Lebanese Winery, Domaine des Tourelles and the Bekka Valley. Founded in 1868, the winery sure knows what they’re doing! From 100 acres of vineyard, they produce some of the best Lebanese wine and arak around. In case you’re not up to speed on arak, it’s a Levantine distilled spirit made from anise seeds and grapes – and it happens to be rather popular throughout the Middle East.
The winery is located in some of the highest altitude vineyards in the northern hemisphere: 3,280 feet above sea level. The Bekka Valley sees 240 days of sunshine a year and enough rain to naturally irrigate the vines, although the climate is dry enough to ward of any fungal diseases that would affect the vines. This natural irrigation system is not the only way that Domaine des Tourelles is eco-friendly – they also use concrete vats rather than stainless steel vats that are more commonly used in wineries, which provide the best biological conditions for making wine that are in line with nature. This, alongside old stones with special holes for a natural temperature regulating allow the red wines to be cooled naturally, without machinery.
All of this provides Domaine de Tourelles with ideal grape-growing conditions – it actually sits at about the same latitude of some of the best wine regions in France but gets much warmer. You can see why the founder, François-Eugène Brun, choose this spot all those years ago.
A large part of the trip was getting to taste a bunch of wines that haven’t been released to the pubic yet. Domaine des Tourelles grow grapes that love the heat, notably cinsault. The cinsault grape hasn’t always been at the forefront of wine, and so many people are not familiar with it – however, it’s highly versatile, and—apart from France—is only really grown en masse in Lebanon.
The trip was not only about getting to taste fabulous wine – Anna also had the chance to experience little of the local cuisine, much of which we serve in BABA. They had a huge selection of fresh labneh, labneh balls, salads and plenty of pita. Anna said, “my favourite part of the trip was getting to meet new people who put their heart and soul into making wine. Everyone was super welcoming, and they treated every visitor like family.”
Before leaving, Anna was treated to a sneak peek into some of the upcoming vintages, which are a real rival to the old world wine industry. Find the Domaine des Tourelles Rosé, White and Red on our wine list next time you’re in!