Obeidi & Merwah, the Lebanese native grape varieties
Obeidi and Merwah are ancient white Lebanese native grape varieties that are traditionally used for making arak and white wine blends. Varietal white wines are now also made from these grape varieties. read more>
THE AUTOCHTONE GRAPE VARIETIES
French grape varieties have long dominated winemaking in Lebanon and although Lebanon has some native varieties (mostly white grape varieties), only two of them have been used for winemaking: Obeidi and Merwah. Both are very old grape varieties and were mainly used as table grapes or to make arak, the Lebanese national drink. They were later used by winemakers to make white wine blends.
It was initially assumed that these grapes could not stand alone until 2015 Chateau Saint Thomas launched the first 100% Obeidi wine. The result was so encouraging that other wineries followed suit. Chateau Ksara launched the first 100% Merwah wine in 2017. While Obeidi and Merwah are considered the native favorites of the white grape, the search for a native red grape is still ongoing. "Around 40 grape varieties are registered as indigenous Lebanese in the wine mosaic, but many of them are table grapes," says Touma, founder of the Chateau St. Thomas. “Of those 40, it would be great if only five worked for wine.
We need some native red grape varieties. “He explains that when working with red wine, as opposed to white wine, there is more room for experimentation because it requires aging and therefore a variety of techniques can be used. Some wine-producing grapes have been used in Lebanon for so long that they are considered cultural heritage or adopted grapes and can be used to identify wines as Lebanese. Such as Cinsault.
While Cinsaut is usually used in light wine blends such as rosé, the winemaker and co-owner of Domaine Des Tourelles, Faouzi Issa, questioned this idea and in 2014 produced a single-origin red wine, Cinsaut, which was well received internationally and which is the top The winery's seller is New York, London and Budapest.
The Obeidi wine presents notes of citrus fruits (lime) and white peach, which reflect the character of the local grape and the Lebanese terroir.
Merwah is traditionally planted in the mountains on old small terraces between olive and fig trees. This allowed the vines to climb the trees and produce delicious grapes that were protected from the heat and hungry predators. This polyculture tradition spread over the mountains of Lebanon. Chateau Ksara a's Merwah is bottled in the Bekaa Valley, but made from grapes grown in a small village called Douma in northern Lebanon at 1,500 meters above sea level.