fine Wine Source Wine Club

November 2016
Massaya: Twenty years ago none of this existed. The rise of Massaya is remarkable by any standards and even more so in the context of the bleak and derelict site that confronted Sami Ghosn when he returned to Tanaïl in the early 1990s. Squatters occupied the land, the house was dilapidated, and the original vines were neglected and overgrown. But Sami had a vision and a determination to reclaim the property where he had grown up with his brother Ramzi. Returning from the US where he had been working as an architect, he realized he urgently had to reassert his family’s rights and most of all, he wanted to transform this ruin into a centre for high quality wine and Arak production.
Lebanon’s civil war forced the Ghosn family to flee the Beqaa and now the brothers were back. Ambition alone would not transform Tanaïl. Sami and Ramzi, who was in charge of marketing and would in time become the wine maker, recognized that they needed to bring in experienced partners. While the old table grape vines were uprooted and replaced, initially with Cabernet Sauvignon, the Ghosn’s found help in France. Two highly respected wine makers were invited to Tanaïl in 1998 and both were impressed by the progress and the potential. The support of Dominique Hebrard from Bordeaux and the Brunier brothers Frederic and Daniel from Chateauneuf du Pape proved to be crucial. Their knowledge of terroir and the techniques of blending wines brought a new level of expertise to Massaya which quickly became a recognized name among Lebanon’s producers. Over the next 12 years the business grew and its reputation spread from the domestic to the international market. The range of wines was expanded and the tall blue bottles of Arak gained iconic status.

About: The varietals were harvested from 40 year old vines (on average) grown on the hillsides of the Beqaa Valley at 900-1,200 Meters above Sea Level in chalky clay soils. The grapes were hand-picked, conveyed in crates, and sorted on tables outside the vat room. They were fully de-stemmed before undergoing traditional fermentation for 20-30 days in stainless steel vats. Aged in stainless steel vats for one year and lightly filtered prior to bottling. Drink while young to fully enjoy the fruit!
Varietals: 35% Cinsault, 35% Grenache Noir, 15% Syrah, 15% Tempranillo Alcohol: 14.5%
Tasting Notes: Fresh and luscious fruit on the nose leads to big refreshing fruit on the palate with hints of spice and pepper.
Food Pairings: Stews and Roasted meats, Squash with Spicy Sausage, or your Thanksgiving meal!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Spicy and rich with layers of complexity; long lingering flavor and spice, leather, and a lot of cranberries and mint. Best served with Lamb or anything from the grill!

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