It really doesn’t take much to enjoy a wine date. Make the effort to be in a comfortable setting, pay attention to what you really need to, and the rest comes down to how well you bring out the best you.
Il y a les repas du dimanche. Des grandes tablées, pas mal de bruit au restaurant ou à la maison, des enfants, des vieux, des jeunes et des adultes, toutes les générations réunies. Il y a peut-être même des amis de la famille, des cousins qui sont venus de l’étranger, c’est souvent le cas au Liban.
On va manger. Des mezzés froids et chauds, des grillades, beaucoup de crudités, du citron, de l’ail, de l’oignon, de la coriandre, des épices douces, des abats, des viandes blanches et rouges, crues et cuites, du poisson, des farcis, des frites, des laitages, et j’en oublie sûrement… Les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas, ils se mangent, et c’est là toute la diversité de la cuisine libanaise.
Et le vin dans tout ça ? Qu’est ce qu’on boit ?
D’aucun vous diront de la bière, de l’arak ou du whisky, par habitude, ou parce que finalement le repas traditionnel libanais ressemble surtout à un apéritif géant.
D’autres, et c’est la tendance, opteront pour le vin libanais, parce que c’est plus raffiné, parce qu’il y a un véritable engouement des producteurs et des consommateurs pour nos vins de montagne, pour leur fraîcheur caractéristique, leur fruité tellement gourmand, leurs épices et leur finale d’encens. Parce que c’est de chez nous, et surtout parce que c’est Bon !
Comment résister à la vivacité de nos rosés, avec leur belle acidité sur les tabboulés, les fattouches, les salades d’aubergine, l’huile d’olive relevée par l’ail et le citron. Quel meilleur accord pourrait-on donner à ces mezzés agrémentés de mélasse de grenadine, de coriandre, de crème de sésame, qu’un blanc libanais, ample, gras et complexe comme le sont nos chardonnays et nos sauvignons. Enfin comment mieux sublimer nos grillades et nos ragoûts de viandes qu’avec ces rouges levantins puissants, chargés d’épices orientales et qui ont cette pointe de minéralité en fin de bouche qui les rend tellement fins et élégants.
209 Lebanese Wine vous donne l’opportunité de redécouvrir la gastronomie libanaise à travers tous ses vins, de comprendre la diversité du Liban par son terroir, de vous lancer dans des accords que vous n’auriez pas osés. Essayez d’accorder de la Boutargue sur un Obeideh et vous verrez comment la puissance des œufs de poissons est arrondie par la vivacité de ce cépage d’exception. Proposez à vos hôtes un rosé de Cinsault sur des feuilles de vignes à l’huile, ou une belle syrah bien violette sur des côtelettes d’agneau grillées. Vous pourrez même pousser le vice à glacer un vin doux de grenache bien rouge de nos monastères sur des biscuits aux loukoums… Divin !
Allez, que la Fête commence !
Salim Heleiwa est né en 1973 à Beyrouth et a passé la plupart de sa jeunesse entre la France et le Liban. Après des études commerciales à Nice, il se dédie aux métiers de bouche, dans l’hôtellerie et la restauration. Il sera successivement acheteur de vins fins et spiritueux, sommelier, commercial, restaurateur, glacier artisanal. Il vit aujourd’hui au Liban avec sa famille et s’occupe à temps plein de The Malt Gallery, une boutique à Achrafieh de plus de 2000 références de vins fins.
Food amateurs and wine lovers, the below is for you!
What a good idea to blend two passions: gastronomy and wine. Then, how to transform this cool idea into a fantastic one? Add a pinch of Lebanese heritage, terroir spirit and easy-to-use structure.
We, at 209, are very happy and excited to announce our new collaboration with ChefXChange. To make your holiday season more memorable, ChefXChange and 209 will be bringing you the best of both worlds; food and drink!
First, let us introduce you to our partner, ChefXChange.
ChefXChange is an online platform where anyone can book a chef in just a few clicks. They’re on a mission to define the culinary experience of tomorrow, for anyone looking to host, learn, or entertain, in the comfort of their chosen venue. They provide them with a curated service and personal interaction with the chef making it hassle free, exclusive, and at restaurant competitive prices. Chefs take care of everything from ingredient buying to cleaning up after the event. They are present in Beirut, New York City, Washington DC, London, Dubai and the GCC, along with many travelling Chefs who can visit you wherever you may be in the world.
Through an exclusive alliance with ChefXChange, 209 – the online marketplace where you can find a big selection of Lebanese wines – will put a perfectly paired choice of wines on your table and send a connoisseur to help enhance your guests’ wine-drinking experience. Run by passionate and knowledgeable wine experts who store, deliver and serve wine under optimal conditions, guaranteeing you enjoy only the very best, 209 will take you into a journey deep inside the Lebanese heritage and spirit.
From tips on how to pair Lebanese wine with food, to explanations about the quality, gender and brand of the wine you are drinking, the collaboration between the 2 platforms will be both culturally enriching, and tasty and pleasant. More than only a gustative experience, your dinner will become an informative and dynamic moment.
For this special occasion, we, at 209, will be granting you 10% discount on your first purchase, valid till January 31st of 2017. You just need to enter this code: 209-CXC-f8s9428s
Visit the ChefXChange website and book a private dinner using the promotional code CXC209 to avail of a USD 25 discount on all your bookings worth USD 100, valid till January 31st of 2017.
*Offer valid in Lebanon till January 31st, 2017.
The Lebanese winemaking industry has been relatively active in the recent past, with a current count exceeding 40 wineries compared to just 5 in the early 1990s, and a current annual production of more than 8 million bottles. There’s also been an increased interest in wine culture in Lebanon as wineries have been reporting greater numbers of visitors.
Most Lebanon’s wineries are considered small-to-medium-sized and are known to place great emphasis on the quality of wine, thereby resulting in somewhat conservative quantities being produced.
In realizing that potential, 209 was created as an opportunity to further advance the awareness and consumption of Lebanese wine. As an innovative concept, 209 harnesses the power of modern-day connectivity by creating an omnichannel platform that generates remarkable exposure for Lebanese wines, to the Lebanese public and beyond, said Zafer Chaoui, President of Union Vinicole du Liban (UVL), whose objective is to consolidate and build on Lebanon’s image as a wine producing country by highlighting its proud history and promoting its potential.”
Wine production in Lebanon did take several hits in the past, but has managed to withstand and overcome those difficulties. Today it is poised to enjoy a bright future. It is only through investing in the winemaking sector in Lebanon that we will be able to make Lebanon a bigger contender on the international wine-producing scene.
Thanks for joining us on 209lebanesewine.com – the home of Lebanese wine.
209 is an all-new, all-Lebanese concept dedicated to bringing together a community of Lebanese wine lovers.
So you’ve gone the extra mile to invite her to the hottest new restaurant with an unbelievably tempting menu. You confidently order your three-course meal and the sommelier hands you the wine list and asks you that all important question, “What would you like to drink with that, Sir?”
You can’t possibly freeze! God forbid she thinks you are a novice at this. So you confidently work your way down the list, pick a suitable (and well-priced option –somewhere close to the upper range of the popular choices is always a safe bet). Before long, you’re offered to taste the wine. Now what?
Don’t sweat. Follow these three steps and you’ll even impress the sommelier (and hopefully your date!)
1. Observe – hold the glass by the stem and give the glass a smooth tilt. (You’re doing this to check for clarity and color, in case she asks.) Cloudiness in a glass is indicative of undesired fermentation, so keep an eye out for that. Admire the color of your wine – a young red would be a nice purple-ruby color and veer more towards brown in a mature wine, while white wines go from a slightly green rim to further along the gold color scheme.
2. Smell – give the glass a good 10-second swirl to let the wine release its natural aromas. Don’t dramatically over-swirl – you definitely don’t want to blow your cover! Lean in for a quick sniff with the tip of your nose slightly surfing the top of the glass. A few descriptive words would also come in handy, so be on top of your wine-vocab game.
3. Taste – sip and move the wine around in your mouth (without looking too awkward) to appreciate the wine thoroughly. Tasting the wine is a three-phase process and so that first feel is actually an “attack” phase where you’ll be tasting tannins, alcohol, and acidity. You’ll then taste the flavors of the wine during the “evolution” phase (this is when you taste the fruitiness, earthiness, and so on of the wine), and why you’ll need to keep that sip of wine in your mouth. Now that you’ve gotten to the finish, you’ll be able to detect the “heaviness” of the wine (was it light, medium, or full-bodied?) and its flavor impression (was it fruity? Or oaky?)
Nod appreciatively and gesture to the sommelier to pour out a glass for the lady.
Done! Now you can sit back and enjoy an evening of fine wine, good company and great conversation. Just make sure you are a gentleman and top up her glass before your own!
We asked you to tell us what wine-related question you needed an answer to right now. Here are the top 6 questions. Keep them coming!
What does ‘terroir’ even mean?
Terroir is a French word for terrain (coming from the word terre meaning land). It refers to a number of elements that nurture the grapes from which the wine comes from. These elements include the climate, soil and sun exposure, among others. The terroir is one of the major factors considered when differentiating between wines of different regions (and let’s face it, using the word “terroir” just makes you sound like you know what you are talking about).
I’m hosting a party for my coworkers, what wine should I serve?
It’s always good to start with a good red and white wine (feel free to add rosé to the mix). When it comes to quantity, it’s safe to assume that every person is likely to have 3 drinks. A bottle generally serves 6-8 drinks based on how generously you pour – so you can do the math. There are a few other considerations to keep in mind when buying wine for a party. The rule of thumb is to go for wines that generally don’t overwhelm the food, and are lower in alcohol (possibly below 13.5%). You can also match wine to foods you’ll be serving on the day by using our search engine.
Why should I decant my wine?
Decanting wine helps on two fronts: separating sediment, and opening the flavor through aeration. The idea is to have the wine sit for a while to allow any solid particles that have formed in the wine to fall to the bottom, making for a clearer, sediment-free elixir you can enjoy. Contact with air also allows stronger tasting wines to mellow out and tones down tannins, making room for the flavors of the wine to shine.
Are the aromas and flavors added to wine?
No, the flavors in a particular wine is the magic formula created through the process of fermentation. The breakdown of sugar in the grapes releases a number of elements which we taste and which resemble things that we’ve tasted before. It is quite normal for any two people to taste different things in the same wine, and that is partly due to previous exposure and your unique palate.
Why does wine make my mouth dry?
Not to be confused with the “dryness” used to describe wine, the feeling of having a dry mouth is caused by the concentration of tannins in wine. Tannins are organic substances found in the grape and grape skin that have a slightly astringent, bitter taste (just like in tea). In wine, tannins give complexity and add balance. That said, not all wines have the same concentration of tannins, and that is partly why they vary in effect – from waking up your palate to causing it to pucker up.
How long will my wine bottle last once opened?
Once opened, a wine bottle would last a day or two. The best way to preserve the wine is to refrigerate it and use a vacuum to pump out the air, since the more oxygen is kept to react with the wine, the quicker the wine turns. Rich, red wines may actually taste better after a day of airing as opposed to white wines, which tend to go flat the next day.
Have any more questions you’d like answered? Feel free to send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org
Like coffee, developing a more nuanced palate for wine can take time. But that shouldn’t put you off straying away from the tried and tested route. After all, your next favorite wine could be just a glass away!
If you are more of a social wine drinker, start with wines that are considered less complex – generally wines made from single grape varieties or a blend of two grapes are easier to get to know better.
The starting point to the discovery of new wines is to understand what you like. Once you have a few favorites and have identified the kinds of wines you like (full bodied or easy to drink? Crisp or fruity? Oaky or spicy?) you can start experimenting.
Looking to develop your palate? Here are a few tips:
1. Develop a “nose”: Sniff, sniff, sniff! Try and identify smells you are familiar with. Lemon, peach, vanilla… even leather or toast. You’ll be surprised how many scents you can pick out once you start paying attention.
2. Aspirate: It’s good form to slurp your wine… ok, maybe only a little bit. Sip the wine while sucking in a little bit of air and let it roll around your mouth in order to release its inherent flavors. Just like the sniff test, you’ll soon be able to taste more flavors associated with other every day foods and materials.\
3. Jot it down: By noting the different textures and flavors, you will start developing your personal wine reference – a trick that makes all the difference in really getting to know what you like.
Given the great diversity of Lebanese wine, it is always the right time to start experiencing new flavors and aromas, and discovering new wine producing areas. From Lebanon’s more famous wineries to little boutique producers in the mountains, you can start appreciating the amazing variety of Lebanese wine in an authentic setting – almost all Lebanon’s wineries are an easy road trip from the big cities.
Part of feeding your curiosity is to read up on some of the wines produced across the country. Some background information would definitely come in handy when tasting, but would also give you insights into a particular winery’s unique story. Stories of vintners and wineries explain vision, but also technique and character.
Want to try something new at home? Search through our wines , play with our filters to tell us what you like and we’ll recommend the best choices for you. And have it delivered right to your door!
Still unsure of what you’d like to try? Send us your questions and we will be more than happy to help.