Brunch and the Bekaa
Saturday morning Samantha and I hopped in a cab with new friends Bethany and Ted and left the hot, muggy climate of Beirut for the cool, fresh mountain air of Baabdat.
Jimmy and Madeline awaited us at their lovely house with a brunch spread including pumpkin pancakes, fruit salad, bruschetta, a spinach and feta tart, coffee, and cranberry lemonade.
Some of the food came directly from their back yard garden, which they proudly showed us.
After brunch we all hopped into the car and headed to the Bekaa for some wine tasting. After an hour or so of driving, conversation, and laughs, we made it to our first stop, Chateau Khoury. The view was breath taking.
We were greeted by Jean-Paul, the winemaker at the Chateau. He happily toured us around the winery, explained how the wine was made and bottled, and then answered each of our many, many questions. And some of the studious wine lovers among us had many technical and specific questions. And others, more jocular in nature, had their questions, too. (Have you ever taken a Champagne shower? To which the answer was, apparently, yes.)
Jean-Paul was completely candid and forthcoming and there was virtually no question he wouldn’t answer for us. (Just don’t ask him which of his wines is his personal favorite because that’s one question he won’t answer!)
When all was said and done, we’d spent two hours with Jean-Paul and tasted four wines (and a few other things Jean-Paul managed to dig out from his stash).
The four main wines that we tasted.
After saying our goodbyes to our friendly host, we hopped back in the car to head to our second winery. First, though, we had to make a pit stop to eat at the famous Massaad Barbecue in Zahleh. I had heard great things about the special taouk they serve and it didn’t disappoint.
Up next was the much bigger and well-known winery, Chateau Kefraya.
We showed up just at the end of tasting hours and were pleased that we were still able to taste some wines. We were served a spectrum of wines to taste but with not so much as a description of each. Luckily, Jimmy and Madeline had brought their trusty Lebanese Wines 2011 for us to consult.
After trying a few wines we sat down to have some delicious desserts and coffee before making the trek back to Beirut. A two-hour car ride later we were welcomed back to the city with the warm, sticky air of summer on the Mediterranean.