“There was a history of wine [in Lebanon] before the French came,” says Farrah Berrou, a Lebanese wine expert and host of B is for Bacchus, an educational wine podcast. “They revived it, but it was the Phoenicians who introduced wine to Europe, not the other way around.”Ancient Grape Varieties Make a Comeback in Lebanon | Wine Enthusiast Magazine
This white grape is low in acid and high in sugar. Historically used mostly to produce arak, an aniseed liqueur, it’s now becoming a popular choice for wine production. Sept Winery and Coteaux du Liban make creamy, sweet wines that taste like honey and lemons, and they also experiment with skin-contact styles.
Related to Sémillon, Merwah grows in Lebanon’s mountains. Like its cousin, it produces rich, nutty and floral wines. The country’s oldest winery, Chateau Ksara, makes a version from 60-year-old vines, while Mersel Wine produces an interesting pét-nat from a blend of Merwah and Viognier.
With a name derived from sabgha, meaning “dye” or “stain,” this red grape’s skin is dark crimson due to high levels of anthocyanin pigments. Characterized by red fruit flavors and vegetal aromas, it’s often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.