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UK restaurant claims first on wines from Syrian and Lebanese vineyards

Wine produced despite the troubles

An award-winning Lebanese restaurant has made UK history with its introduction of a selection of fine wines sourced from two of the Middle East’s most prestigious (and dangerous) vineyards. Now, Meejana diners can sip on glasses of red and white imported from Syria’s Domaine Bargylus and Lebanon’s Chateau Marsyas wineries.

Since 2007 Meejana has been tantalising foodies with authentic, handcrafted Lebanese dishes made with the freshest ingredients. Today Meejana operates branches in London and Weybridge which gives capital dwellers ample opportunity to enjoy artisan Lebanese food, paired with regional wines. With Domaine Bargylus and Chateau Marsyas drops now firmly flagged on the restaurant’s wine list, Meejana joins the ranks of Michelin starred venues across the globe that also showcase the unique blends.

Both Domaine Bargylus and Chateau Marsyas are family owned vineyards run by Johnny R. Saadé descendants. The family’s Levantine roots have given the lineage a passion for pioneering the renaissance of the ancient vineyards of the Orient. Owner Sandro Saadé underpins his cellars with the philosophy that “wine is rooted in the earth.” For this reason, every blend reflects the natural riches of the Middle East, its sultry climate and the culture’s intrinsic love of the land.

Rita Cherfan, executive chef, co-owner and director said, “Meejana is driven by a passion for authentic Lebanese cuisine and we’re thrilled to be able to enhance the dining experience with our trio of new wines sourced from Domaine Bargylus and Chateau Marsyas. We are the only Lebanese restaurant in the country with these labels on our wine lists. The Middle East produces some of the finest wines on the planet and we can’t wait to introduce some of our favourites to British aficionados.”

Made from a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Sauvignon Blanc, the 2009 Domaine Bargylus Blanc Deir Touma Lattaquié is both complex and aromatic. Notes of lemon verbena, white peach, lime and fresh mint give it a vibrant acidity and clean mineral backbone that pairs perfectly with dishes such as the Seafood Platter featuring salmon and scallops cooked in a saffron, dill and white wine sauce. It’s refreshing, elegant and beautifully balanced.

Another Domaine de Bargylus wine making its UK debut is the 2008 Rouge Deir Touma Lattaquié. As a blend of 40% Syrah, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, the wine is brimming with aromas of ripe summer fruits and sweet spices such as black pepper, toast, cinnamon and cocoa. It’s aged for 14 months in a blend of different cask ages to achieve full body, ripe tannins, balanced acidity and a luxuriously long fruity finish. Enhance the fruity flavours by pairing it with Kibbeh Bel Synieh and Fattoush, a dish crafted with seasoned minced lamb, pine kernels and a fragrant yoghurt sauce.

From the fertile soils of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley comes the 2009 Château Marsyas Rouge Lebanon. Blended with a quartet of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 15% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, the wine boasts intense aromas of ripened sweet black fruits such as cherry and blackcurrant. The rich palate is offset by hints of liquorice, cocoa and a touch of earth, all harmonised by a fresh acidic aftertaste and supple, fine-grained tannins. Pair it with a combination of hot mezze plates brimming with minted lamb, haloumi cheese and frog’s legs in tomato and coriander.


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