We were up to the middle two wines of a flight of six, poured and discussed by Etienne Debbanne the Co-founder and Chairman of Ixsir Winery of Lebanon at my local wine shop, The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. For a winery that was founded in 2009 in the mountainous region of Batroun in Lebanon, they have embraced sustainability and a sense of green, being recognized by three awards including the “greenest building in the world.” They started from the beginning, doing it the new way, so they didn’t have to change any bad habits.
The Ixsir Winery Grand Reserve Rosé Batroun, Lebanon 2020 was a wine that made Etienne Debbanne extremely happy to pour for us. It was selected as the best Rosé by the Robb Report. The wine is a blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah and was created in Stainless Steel tanks with almost no aging time to create a fresh and lively wine. A pretty color with floral notes and a crisp, fresh and balanced wine that offered a nice finish with terroir. It was big, and in hindsight, I now understand why this wine was tasted after the whites and before the reds, as I might have wanted to start off with this wine.
We then had the Ixsir Winery Altitudes Red Batroun, Lebanon 2016. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Caladoc and Tempranillo. I will mention Caladoc, first produced in 1958 and is a cross between Malbec and Grenache. It is not sanctioned in the AOC regions of France, but it is being used for blending in several areas quite successfully, for the richness of color and with flavors and nose of wild berries, balsamic and eucalyptus. This wine was aged in French Oak for six months, with fifteen percent new. The wine had a nose of black fruit and oak, and offered flavors of black fruit and currants with a silky finish. It was a very easy drinking wine.