Le Château 2013

Producer: Château Belle-Vue
Region: Bhamdoun-Mount Lebanon
Country: Lebanon
Wine Type: Red
Variety: Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 15.9%
Soil: Clay & limestone
Farming Practices: Dry farmed, no pesticides or herbicides, ground cover used between rows.
info@buyersandcellars.ca www.buyersandcellars.ca

Cellar Profile

In the late 1990s, Naji Boutros and his wife Jill decided to leave his businesses in London and New York and return to his family’s ancestral home in Bhamdoun Village. Long the playground of the well-to-do in Lebanon and nearby Arab states, with thousands of luxury hotel rooms and gardens, Bhamdoun had been largely abandoned during the internecine wars that plagued Lebanon and the whole area was in disrepair. Thanks to the Boutros’ work and commitment, the area is again welcoming tourists from around the world, and the village is a bustling, idyllic family place. The carefully-planted, organically-farmed vineyards are dry farmed, which is especially challenging as there is little to no rain during the summer growing season. However, this extra stress, while significantly reducing yields, leads to wines of supreme quality and structure. With 120 plots in the valleys around the village, there are plenty of excitingly different terroirs to choose from when making their final blends. Focusing on French varieties and using biodynamic principles, Chateau Belle-Vue’s small production has Old World, classic European sensibilities as well as that wonderful exotic spiciness that seem to be the hallmark of Lebanese wines.


The Bhamdoun Village region of Mount Lebanon is a 20 minute drive from bustling Beirut and has been a favoured vacation destination for Beirutis for a long time. Sitting near the Mediterranean coast. the region enjoys huge diurnal swings between the heat of the day and cool evenings. The rain and snow of November to April is followed by desert-like summer conditions, where any kind of viticulture must rely upon deep underground reservoirs of water to feed the vines. A relatively tiny wine region, the soils are calcareous, mostly clay, sand and limestone, all covered with varying-sized pebbles and rocks. Dry farming results in tiny berries, giving wines of structure and power with firm tannic backbone.


Chateau Belle-Vue sources from 120 different small plots of organically farmed grapes grown in the limestone and mineral-rich soils around the village of Bhamdoun. No herbicides or pesticides are employed and crop cover is used between rows to ensure no loss of topsoil. The vineyards are dry-farmed, which is risky given desert-like summer conditions but which results in smaller yields, thicker skins and exceedingly high-quality berries. Winemaking here is considered “heroic”, as the vineyards sit on hacked out rock terraces between 950 and 1250 masl.


A blend of three French grape varieties: Cabernet Franc (45%), Syrah (40%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%). Originally from Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc is actually the parent of the much better known Cabernet Sauvignon (a crossing of Cab Franc and Sauvignon Blanc). Cab Franc needs plenty of sunlight in order to shed its green notes, but can craft exceptional wines that have power and elegance when given the proper attention and care. Syrah is the classic noble variety of the Northern Rhone, offering black fruits and black pepper-scented, structured wines. Cabernet Sauvignon has smaller berries, thicker skin and higher sugar levels generally than Franc, and needs plenty of sun to fully ripen. It adds high tannins and acid, black fruit flavours and dark pigmentation to fix colour. This intriguing blend provides a wine of power and ripe fruit.


Grapes are hand-harvested, sorted and de-stemmed before maceration and fermentation in stainless steel, at a controlled temperature, using indigenous yeasts. After malolactic fermentation is completed in steel, the wines age for 24 months in French oak barrels. The varieties are harvested, vinified and barrel-aged separately before assemblage. The final blend is then bottled, unfiltered, and aged for another 3+ years in the cellar before release.

Tasting Notes 

Bright red berry fruits vie with blackberry, cassis and sweet spices on the nose. The mouth feel is ripe and round, with solid heft from 15.9% alcohol. The fruits are more black than red on the palate, along with black licorice, tobacco, tomato leaf, cocoa nibs and vanilla. Extremely complex. A true contemplation wine and intrinsically “Bhamdoun” in character. Decant and serve with lamb stew, Prime Rib au jus or steak shish-kebab.