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How Sweet!

How Sweet!

Sweet wines are often overlooked and reduced to being desert wines instead of being enjoyed for what they are.
In our book, they are a sweet and delicate surprise that should rightfully remain on the list of any true wine-lover.


What are sweet wines?

Historically, sweet wines used to be the envy of the whole world! Before the advances of technology and refrigeration, and before modern winemaking techniques, sugars were added to wine to stabilize its taste and prolong its life.
If we want to go at it simply, wine is made by converting the natural sugars found in grapes into alcohol and carbon dioxide by using yeast. Usually, to obtain a dry wine, nearly all of the sugars are fermented out of the grapes in the process.
If any sugar remains, then the wine is considered sweet.

How is sweet wine made?

In the past, grapes were left out to dry in the sun after harvest. The water of the grapes then evaporates, leaving them with a high sugar level that makes the wine sweet.
With today’s modern techniques, other methods are used to produce sweet wine such as filtration for example: when a winemaker has obtained the level of sweetness he wishes, he can filter out the yeast, thus controlling the level of sweetness of his wine.
A winemaker can also decide to stop the fermentation process before all the sugars have turned into alcohol, keeping some residual sugars in the wine.


The world of Sweet wine is so versatile, creating space for more experimentation and creativity. Sweet wine can be obtained using white or red grapes. Their varietals are endless, so are their types, colors and origins.
As Lebanese wine lovers, we are in love with everything eclectic, and there isn’t a more eclectic world than those of Sweet and Lebanese wines.

Discover what we mean HERE!

January 20, 2021
Go Organic!

Go Organic!

Simply put, organic wines are produced with organically grown grapes, free from pesticides, herbicides and GMO yeasts.

Although sulfites levels might differ, the most common point to highlight is that organic wines should not contain any added sulfites.

What are sulfites you ask?

Sulfites, also known as sulfur dioxide, occur naturally during the fermentation process, to work as a preservative against certain yeast and bacteria- things that can ruin a wine instantly if they grow.

However, the amount of sulfite produced naturally during fermentation is not enough to preserve a wine’s life, so wineries have taken upon themselves to add some in order to protect their wine.


In fact, Sulfites are widely used in the Food and Beverage industry as a flavor enhancer and food preservative. In wine, sulfites are used to maintain the flavor of the wine in the bottle, prolong its shelf life, and especially prevent the wine from browning - something that could instantly change the color and flavor of the wine.


So, in order to grow organic grapes, a winemaker must implement a different set of practices to maintain its vines. Practices that might make the winemaking process more challenging, but the end result is a simpler, more natural product, that is equally dynamic in flavor and taste.


Lebanon has a few organic wineries spread across all regions, that produce amazing organic wines unique to their terroir.

We've compiled a list for you to discover the world of Organic Lebanese wine, so just click HERE and explore!

January 14, 2021
Château Qanafar: The Detailed Work of a Meticulous Winemaker

Château Qanafar: The Detailed Work of a Meticulous Winemaker


A fascinating sight in the West of Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, Château Qanafar greets its visitors with a pleasant blend of architectural ambition and rich valley landscapes. Château Qanafar is a young winery but has earned a rightful place in the market as one of the best wines in the region. 

Château Qanafar today is the meticulous masterpiece of winemaker, Eddy, a well-travelled yet purely Lebanese family man, whose passionate approach doesn’t take away from his sharp focus on the craft. A winemaking genius, Eddy’s subtle disposition presents a brutal contrast with the intensity and minimalistic exuberance of his wines.

According to the winemaker himself, the key is to carefully monitor the winemaking process:

“We like to have full control of every step of the vinification process.  The wine is made solely from our own vineyards ensuring that there are no added chemicals or unwanted biological processes.  We follow a simple doctrine: grow great fruit and respect from berry to bottle.  The winemaker’s role is to shepherd the quality of the fruit into the bottle, preserving the natural flavors and aromas rather than “create” a wine”

 At Château Qanafar, all of this monumental innovation is designed carefully to enhance, never interfere with the inherited traditions of Lebanese winemaking. Château Qanafar, exemplifies that the careful focus on the vinification process, from soil to bottle, is what delivers the true Lebanese wine experience. 

This is worth fighting for.

No matter what our description is, the true scope of its genius is best experienced first-hand, through its wines:

CLICK HERE to discover!


December 16, 2020
What makes Lebanese wine what it is?

What makes Lebanese wine what it is?

 Lebanese Wine

Winemaking in Lebanon dates back to Phoenician rule.

The Lebanese winemaking industry has been relatively active in the recent past, with a current count of 60 wineries compared to just 5 in the early 1990s, and a current annual production of 9 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.

Lebanese wine has created a name for itself in international markets and is considered a quality ambassador to the country abroad. That said, its production remains rather small, with approximately 9 million bottles being produced annually according to The Union Vinicole du Liban (UVL) statistics

Lebanon has the unique advantage of many microclimates, which allows for wine production in different regions across the country. Most wineries are located in the Bekaa Valley and Chouf region, where a natural water table and clay-calcareous soils—respectively—offer appropriate climates for wine production. More recently established wineries are veering towards Batroun, where vineyards are planted either sea-facing or further inland

Lebanese wine is very distinct in taste. What makes wine what it is is its “terroir”. Terroir is a term given to explain the grapes’ upbringing in a sense; the soil, climate, terrain, and even surrounding micro flora. That said, among Lebanese wine, wines coming from different regions have different characteristics. Here’s a glimpse of the different Lebanese regions: 


The Bekaa valley is Lebanon’s most known region when it comes to winemaking. The region uses its own water supply that comes from the melting snow on the Lebanese mountains. Its Mediterranean climate explains the dry summers and wet, cold, winters. Despite its limited rainfall, the Bekaa region is Lebanon’s most important farming area.


The second most wine-producing region in Lebanon, after Bekaa, is Batroun, where grapes are grown at altitudes between 400 and 1,300m, and either facing the sea or more inland. The region’s very diverse character makes it a hub for the birth of boutique wineries and distinct wines.


The terroir in the Mount Lebanon  region is characterized by its warm summers and mild winters, which render the grapes distinct in taste. The area is exposed to the Mediterranean on its west and southwest, and has calcareous clay soil that delays the ripening of the grapes and is known to produce more acidic wines.


The South’s famous range of microclimates, along with its valleys and plateaus, give the region great potential in producing remarkable and different wines. Grapes are generally grown at altitudes that range from 600m to 1,300m in soils that also differ from one area to the next.


Although a great number of the grapes grown in Lebanon are originally French (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, …etc), there’s so much more to the making of wine that sets Lebanese wine apart, and makes it worth the experience. Stay tuned for a closer look at the different regions and their distinct wines!

According to Mr Zafer Chaoui, president of Union Vinicole du Liban, the exceptional weather permits for the Lebanese wineries to produce natural wine with almost no use of chemicals along with a unique terroir in altitude.

The terroir plays a very important role in the taste of the wine (its phenolic composition, fruitiness ….

The terroir is affected by several factors:

- Altitude

- Orientation

- Soil composition

- Topography

He also specified that Lebanon is an extremely small wine producing country and therefore we have no other choice but to produce high quality wines. Besides, we need to compare what is comparable (we can’t compare a cheap Bordeaux or a Chianti with a “Château” wine).

Furthermore, we shouldn’t forget that Lebanon doesn’t produce colored bottles, corks, caps… all of the packaging materials has to be imported which leads to a cost increase.

Enjoy a bottle from our selection, and live the story of Lebanese Wine


October 16, 2020
Heading to your first wine-tasting?  Here’s how to make the most of it

Heading to your first wine-tasting? Here’s how to make the most of it

Wine-tasting events can be very enjoyable, especially if they’re experienced with good company. To make the most of a wine-tasting event, there are a number of things to be mindful of, and others to avoid in order to prevent mishaps. Bearing in mind that you are there for the pleasure of the experience but also to learn, it’s important that you are comfortably dressed and well prepared. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind the next time you’d like to attend a wine-tasting:

- Attire, perfume and note taking
Aside from being comfortable it’s also important to keep in mind the likelihood of spills when choosing what to wear for the night. That in mind, it would be ideal to avoid clothing with loose sleeves, and maybe opting for dark colored tops. Additionally, it’s important not to wear perfume to the wine-tasting to avoid it from being a sensory distraction. You’ll also want to be prepared to take notes. You shouldn’t have to struggle the next day trying to remember that third or fourth bottle you tried and really liked.
- Eat First
The assumption is that you are likely to taste a significant number of wines. Knowing that, you’d really want to be completely mindful of the experience without distracting hunger or starting to feel slightly light headed early into the evening. Be sure to have something to eat before attending the event, or even throughout the event if need be.
- Catching and Releasing
In order to experience the wine in the best way possible, taking in air with the mouthful of wine lets you taste but also detect the aromas of the wine. After taking a sip and letting the wine coat the inside of your mouth, you would normally spit it out. Letting go of the wine then leaves you with a window of opportunity to really assess the distinct features of the wine including its texture and finish.

Have you ever noticed how memorable a story can be?
Bring your experience of every bottle to a good end by asking about the story of the winery and that specific wine. By doing so, not only would you be able to appreciate the wine more, but you’ll also be able to make your winetasting experience much more memorable.
Notes and Impressions from a VINIFEST 2017 visitor

Notes and Impressions from a VINIFEST 2017 visitor

Interesting show. Several good surprises, some of which can even be called amazing. Overall Lebanese wine quality still on an upward trend.

Lebanese Wine discovery:

Chateau Marsyas red 2012: Amazing. Elegant and rich, balanced and fault-free. A bordelaise structure with no overextraction, no overoaking. The star of the classic red show. Buy Chateau Marsyas red 2012 online

Sept Syrah 2016: Wooowww. An attack overwhelmed by velvety and super elegant tannins clearly engulfing and totally covering the structure with a transparent veil of lace; after having enjoyed crossing this golden gate, one discovers a beautiful array of pastel and oil colours with not the slightest clash in site. Akin to the feeling of Colombus discovering the American continent. Yet still very young, but with the promise of extreme greatness. Biodynamic and selective parcel vinification. A marvelously memorable experience. Batroun heights. Buy Sept Syrah 2016 online

Vertical 33 Cinsault du soir 2015: totally unexpected. Is this wine or some sort of magic elixir. Never has any Cinsault offered this fine elegance with a touch of undescribable lightness combined with a fruitiness you'd think came from a newfruit of paradise. When I say unexpected i mean total departure from any previous conception of wine flavour profile. Is this a wine or a magic brew? Purists could complain about its extreme lightness combined with an unwinelike slight fruity sucrosity; they'd have nothing to compare it with; they would expect a layer of heaviness, a sting of bitterness, something to chew on. But no, nothing of this in this wine light and pleasant enough for any time of day, any occasion, any need to surprise one's senses. West Bekaa grapes. Buy Vertical 33 Cinsault du soir online 2015

Sept Obeideh: excellent. Feels like a concentrated thin straight line where you have to search but will be amazed by the mix of flavours you find within the rich and varied structure. It is flexible enough to pair well with foods of both higher or lower richness. Buy Sept Obeideh online

Other very good discoveries: (in no particular order)

Syrah du Liban 2012: excellent, totally classic with an interesting syrah typicity. An unmistakably great lebanese red wine. Bravo Faouzi Issa, Domaine des Tourelles. Even better than the 2006 star. Central Bekaa. Buy Syrah du Liban 2012 online

Qanafar red 2012: great follow thru after the very successful 2011. Definitely one of the great lebanese bordelais. Slight sucrosity but great structure. Blanc de Qanafar has improved and is vey good. The second red, Paradis has made a huge upwards leap. Buy Chateau Qanafar red 2012 online

Muse rose 2016: excellent rose made from syrah monocepage. Elegance, faultless and no heavy acidity. Pity their white and reds are no way near the rose. Buy Muse rose 2012 online

Tourba Petit Verdot red 2014: interesting and surprising as a monocepage; this varietal is normally added in very small proportion (typically 5%) to enrich Bordeaux style blends. Here, on its own its not bad at all. Buy Latourba Petit Verdot red 2014

Marsyas B-Qa: amazing second wine in both red and white. You don't feel it's a second wine with the red easily being the best at that price level. Buy Marsyas B-Qa online

Musar Jeune: in earlier years I had thought of this line as a wasted attempt at range extension. Not any more. It is now an excellent value line in all of the white, rose and red. A very decent entry level range that will not depreciate the Chateau Musar image. Bravo. Buy Musar Jeune online

Bybline red: i could not avoid being attracted this year again by the amazing Musar-style Bybline. The same varietal blend Cabernet, Carignan, Cinsault planted in Wata Joz, kesrouan. It is a Musar near lookalike but with a bit less volatile acidity and brett effect. Those who appreciate the Musar style would enjoy it, particularly at half the price. Amazed it lasted 11 years. Buy Chateau Bybline online;

Karam rose: not bad at all. Faultless and interesting with any food. Buy Karam Rose online

Lebanese wines are definitely improving. There are much more quality wines than a few years ago. But the most interesting aspect is that new styles are appearing and this new variety of taste profiles and experiences is very pleasant. This novelty will not please everybody, particularly those fixated on Bordeaux style, but this extension will help attract a larger number of fans. I think it is great and the industry is going in the right direction.

Don't be surprised that I hadn't mentioned wines of Ksara, Kefraya or Ixsir . Not because I didnt like them, but because they were not offering their best at Vinifest: the two great Kefraya efforts are Chateau 2012 and the amazing Comte de M 2012, both of which were not offered; their entry level Breteche 2015 is not bad at all, but they seemed more interested in selling the label design than the wine experience. Ksara' s Souverain and Troisieme Millenaire seemed to be the same ones offered last year; their Chateau is more than decent but was not given enough boost. At Ixsir I eagerly looked for the fantastic EL 2012, but only the 2013 was on offer, slightly ahead of its top form. A brand that showed excellent follow-on to the philosophy of quality is definitely Chateau Qanafar where all the wines, without any exception, are improving vintage after vintage.


Where do wine aromas come from?

Where do wine aromas come from?

Wine drinking is a multidimensional experience, and is savored by all our senses. The ability to identify the subtlest of flavors and aromas takes a bit of practice but only adds to the pleasure with time. The physical pleasures of the flavor and aroma of wine do also carry a psychological element. In fact, scents that are experienced with wine carry a science that falls back on your archived scents, a fact that renders the ability to identify aromas to be quite relative. The volatile compounds that you sense are similarly found in other fruits or foods that you’ve previously experienced. Interestingly enough, the aromas you identify in a glass of wine might not be the same ones someone else would first pick up from that same bottle.

The aromatic complex coming from wine is mainly due to the grape variety, terroir, and oak. Young wines are generally known to exhibit primary aromas that mainly come from the fruit; such as notes of berry and black cherry. When it comes to white wine, the primary aromas range between citrus to tropical fruits. Additionally, floral and licorice notes are also sensed in a young wine. Coffee, vanilla, or chocolate notes that come from oak are generally considered secondary aromas that come with the aging process.

A great way to pick favorites when it comes to wine is to know a few categories that are based on aroma (setting aside taste, body and color). One way is to identify whether the aroma you’ve identified is off a black or red fruit (in the case of red wine) or, in the case of white wine, a citrus or tree fruit. Based on the notes that you prefer, you can make your selection from the wines that are famous for carrying that specific aroma. 

The aroma, though complex, is only part of the entire wine experience, and with time will only serve to enhance it. Keep this in mind with your next selection of wine from 209, and enjoy the discovery! 


This is how you can store wine!

This is how you can store wine!

Wine drinking is a common activity that isn’t limited to occasions. It has become a pleasure in itself, or a means to bring people together, celebrate, or unwind at the end of the day. Considering it to be something that is regularly consumed, you might consider stocking up with a few bottles, and maybe a little more if you enjoy having people over.

You can store bottles anywhere other than the kitchen, boiler room, or anywhere else likely to heat up. Look for a cabinet with the right temperate conditions and that is hidden away from sunlight, and it’ll do the trick. Other than that, here are a few pointers that you might find useful:

1. Store the bottle on its side to maintain the cork seal longer – this is also space-efficient.

2. Store in cool temperature and keep it that way – the rule of thumb goes with a max of 21 degrees Celsius and humidity of 50-70%.

3. If a bottle is already open, pour the wine into a smaller container – less exposure to oxygen would delay it from going bad. Wine would last a few more days in a smaller half bottle and sealed with cork or saran wrap.

4. If a bottle is already open, replace the cork and store it in the refrigerator to slow down the effect of oxygen.

5. Use a vacuum to remove the air from the bottle, and seal it with an appropriate cap.

If you are looking to take things further, then a wine cooler would hold your bottles under a constant temperature. Given that you have the space for it, it would make for a reasonable investment. Keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy wine at home whenever you want, and be able to handle the leftovers. Check the remarkable wine coolers we have at 209! .


Here is your choice of Wine coolers

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On Lebanese Wine…Q&A with Mr. Zafer Chaoui, UVL President

On Lebanese Wine…Q&A with Mr. Zafer Chaoui, UVL President

1- What, in your opinion, is one thing that truly distinguishes Lebanese wine?

The exceptional weather permits for the Lebanese wineries to produce natural wine with almost no use of chemicals along with a unique terroir in altitude.

2- How does the terroir play a role in differentiating between wines from different areas in Lebanon? How are wines from the Bekaa, for example, different than those in North Lebanon?

The terroir plays a very important role in the taste of the wine (its phenolic composition, fruitiness, …etc). The terroir is affected by several factors including altitude, orientation, soil composition and topography.

3- How do wine-making techniques affect the resulting flavor of the wine?

The temperature of fermentation is fundamental in the quality of the wines especially for the Rose and White as it affects the aromas and the flavors directly. As for the Red wines, the skin maceration period determines the structure of the wine.

4- Why is Lebanese wine perceived as expensive by some drinkers?

Lebanon is an extremely small wine producing country and therefore we have no other choice but to produce high quality wines. Besides, we need to compare what is comparable (we can’t compare a cheap Bordeaux or a Chianti with a “Chateau” wine). Furthermore, we shouldn’t forget that Lebanon doesn’t produce colored bottles, corks, or cap, and so all of the packaging material has to be imported which leads to a cost increase.

5- Why do you think some Lebanese wine drinkers mention that some wines give them headaches?

What actually causes headache in wine is the high concentration of Sulfur Dioxide, which is not the case in Lebanese wines since most of the wineries use less than the permitted concentration. I think this has more to do with an unfounded propaganda. Having said that, we need to highlight that the Lebanese wines are exported to more than 45 countries requiring precise chemical analysis.

6- What makes Lebanese wine worth trying when compared to other wines?

Lebanese wines continue to gain popularity all over the world because of their high quality, the concentration of flavors, and structure. Every year, we witness an increase in the export of the Lebanese wines all over the world.

7- Where is wine-making in Lebanon heading? That is, what are the current trends when it comes to Lebanese wine-making and wine consumption?

No doubt that Lebanese wines are increasingly in demand, domestically and internationally, which leads to an increase in production. However, Lebanon is a small country and the narrow available surface will eventually limit the production. Nowadays, the trend in wine-making tends towards more fruity wines with less use of oak and lower concentration in tannins.

A Wine affair… Pairing herbs with wine

A Wine affair… Pairing herbs with wine

Why is wine-herb pairing a good idea? It’s one more way you could enjoy your wine drinking experience. By pairing the right wine with the right dish, the flavors are balanced and you’d be able to discover the pleasure of the basic flavors in a meal, as well as the complex combinations that are created. The cornerstone of pairing wine with herbs actually comes down to the aromatic compounds found in both. In fact, it is better to pair the wine with the sauce than with the meat mainly because that is what is more likely to exude the dominant flavor.

When it comes to food, you’re mainly looking to complement the dish with a contrasting wine for balance, or enhancing the flavors of the dish by going for a wine that is a similar match. Imagine yourself having a nice warm plate of macaroni and cheese with a beautiful, creamy, béchamel sauce. On one hand, the acidity in a good Sauvignon Blanc would be a complementary match since it balances the fat in the dish. On the other hand, a creamy Viognier or Chardonnay would actually enhance the flavors in your plate. This is an example of how two different options of white wine can make for two very different food experiences. It really does come down to personal preference.

Taking this a step further first requires that you become familiar with the popular herbs and ingredients used in different cuisines. The Mediterranean cuisine, for example, is famous for using garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, and mint among other herbs. Garlic pairs well with fruity, and dry wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, or Pinot Noir, and Syrah, if you’re looking to have red wine. Syrah actually pairs well with most of the mentioned herbs, especially with basil and rosemary. Thyme and oregano are earthy herbs and would also pair well with Pinot Noir.

Tasting does take a little practice, but will eventually make for an enjoyable experience. The next time you sit down for a meal, try to isolate the predominant herbs in the dish, and experiment with wine flavors. There really is nothing like the perfect match.