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Lebanon's civil war forced the Ghosn family to flee the Beqaa and create a new life away from the conflict. Even so, brothers Sami and Ramzi Ghosn kept alive their vision and determination to reclaim the property and establish a winery where their family had lived for generations. With the Beqaa
estate back in control by 1992, they started making arak, spirit of Lebanon, while they replanted vines for wine. Massaya incidentally, means twilight and as the sun sets over the Mediterranean the sky darkens to the same shade as our distinctive blue arak bottle. It is no coincidence that the Romans built the Temple of Bacchus at Baalbeck because for many centuries the land of the Beqaa Valley has delivered a spectacular harvest of grapes. You can still see the vines carved in the temple stonework. Massaya's Tanaïl estate and winery are less than an hour's drive from Baalbeck and this is where we grow the grapes for the red and rosé wines of today. We have chosen carefully the land for our vines to take maximum advantage of the Beqaa's favourable terroir.
In the area around Ras Baalbeck to the north east where the two mountain ranges meet we grow Grenache Noir that thrives in the harsh environment with stony soil and is used primarily in Terrasses de Baalbeck and Cap Est Cuvées. Mourvedre and Syrah that contribute to Massaya Reserve are grown in the Haddath Baalbeck region on the piedmonts of Mount Lebanon in the north western part of the Beqaa. We use Mourvedre in Terrasses de Baalbeck and Syrah for Massaya Classic and le Colombier and also in our rosé. Cabernet Sauvignon is part of the blend in all our red wines and the rosé. Cinsault is grown in the southern Beqaa and is used widely in our red and rosé wines.
The obeïdi grapes that give character to Massaya Blanc and Massaya Arak are grown by farmers throughout the Beqaa. Since 2014 the Massaya story has added an exciting chapter with the opening at Faqra of a winery high in Mount Lebanon. There were many reasons why we felt this was an important development to enhance the Massaya experience - its superb location, the cellars tunnelled into the mountainside, the restaurants, the pleasure of food and drink taken with friends - but most of all, we wanted to grow Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, Clairette and Roussanne and make our white wine high above the valley's plateau. We were convinced that we could improve the quality of this fresh and fruity wine if we planted vines in cooler conditions up to 1,700 metres - and the results from 2014 onwards show we had the right insight.[read less...]