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Producer: Chateau OumsiyatGrape Varieties: Merlot 100%Optimum Drinking: Within 5 yearsWine Style: Rich smooth fruity redAlcohol by Volume: 15%Closure: Natural CorkCountry: Lebanon
A lovely style of Merlot with typical black plum flavours enhanced by chocolate and vanilla, smooth and fruit forward.
Passion and heritage has been passed down through the Bou Sleiman family for four generations. When Joseph Bou Sleiman took over the reins at Château Oumsiyat, he blended respect for local tradition with modern techniques to craft contemporary wines. A passionate vine grower, Joseph also built a modern winery in the village of Mtein, where he creates wines that are a fusion of Old World and New World. The grapes are grown in the 78 hectare vineyard, situated at over 1,000 metres elevation in the beautiful Bekaa Valley, between Mount Lebanon to the west and the AntiLebanon Mountains to the east. The altitude, microclimate and soils combine in this ancient terroir to produce fresh wines with a very Mediterranean “feel.”
2018 was characterised as an early vintage. Low rainfall during winter was followed by hot, dry conditions in the summer. The dry, warm weather helped keep the vineyard disease free and produced grapes with good concentration of fruit. The vintage took place earlier than in average years, with fruit in excellent health and good polyphenolic maturity.
The vines are planted on the slopes of Mount Lebanon at an altitude of 1,200 metres above sea level, where the warm days are tempered by cooler nights. The summer diurnal temperature difference encourages an extended ripening period; concentrating the flavours and aromatic complexity in the berries, while the fruit retains balancing acidity from the cool nights. The soil is sandstone clay, a sedimentary soil made up of sandy components rich in minerals, while the clay component has excellent water retention properties, essential for nourishing the vines throughout the hot, dry summer. The vines are cane pruned and are planted at a density of 4,000 vines per hectare. The vineyard is cultivated with respect for the environment and the grapes are hand-harvested at optimal maturity.
The fruit was carefully sorted to ensure only healthy, ripe grapes were vinified. Traditional fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 28°C with selected yeasts. Remontage or pump overs took place periodically to oxygenate the wine and extract tannins. A long post-fermentation maceration took place to extract colour, flavour and impart structure to the wine. Ageing in stainless steel preserved the integrity of the pure fruit character. The wine was lightly filtered before bottling.
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Chateau Oumsiyat Merlot, Mount Lebanon 2018£13.37
Chateau Oumsiyat 'Desir', Bekaa Valley 2018£9.47