Sami Ghosn of Massaya in Lebanon was in London today to introduce new wines that embody a shift in the winery's direction, largely the result of the development of higher-altitude vineyards, as well as last year's opening of a new high altitude winery.
The brand new Cap Est probably demonstrated this best - a single-vineyard blend of equal parts Grenache and Mourvèdre. The first vintage, 2013, was bottled only last week. It is made with grapes from the north-east part of the Beqaa Valley, and is decidedly more Mediterranean in style when compared to some of Massaya's more robust traditional output. Ghosn identified a salinity in the wine - another reference to the Mediterranean. 'It's a wine that has the essence of the area,' he said.
Both Sami and Ramzi Ghosn have been working on the new high-altitude vineyards with Frédéric and Daniel Brunier from Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. In addition to the Grenache and Mourvèdre, the vineyards have been planted with Clairette, Roussanne and Vermentino for the Massaya White.
The entire range is getting an overhaul too, with new packaging for all of the wines except Gold Reserve Red, and new names and blends for the other reds, namely Le Colombier and Terrasses de Baalbeck.
Ghosn commented that the more traditional Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant Gold Reserve Red might be discontinued within the next few years. 'Our style is changing a lot - more towards our Mediterranean identity,' he explained.
The new winery was opened in July last year, in Faqra on Mount Lebanon, 1,750m above sea level. It will be used to vinify the white wine, and to mature some of the reds. Speaking of the new facility, and referring to the political situation in Lebanon, Ghosn said: 'The instict of survival grows in you in Lebanon.'
Cap Est 2013 off-trade RRP £30. Thorman Hunt & Co, 020 7735 6511