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Like everyone else in the course of their work I get pulled over by armed police on a reasonably regular basis. I’ve always prided myself on remaining fashionably cool throughout these encounters.

Back in May we went over for a short visit to Domaine des Tourelles in The Lebanon. It turns out there’s apparently nothing ‘fashionably cool’ about a grown man trying to hide in the glove compartment of a beaten-up Mercedes 190 but then, if we’re going to start nit picking those ‘policemen’ in black balaclavas toting AK47s with bullet belts draped over their shoulders weren’t all that ‘chic’ either!

It’s hard to know in a situation like that – put on the spot as it were, 10km from the Syrian border – whether earlier in the day it had been foolish or wise to decline the souvenir salesman’s cut price Hezbolah Tee-shirts. After all it wasn’t exactly clear who the ‘policemen’ were.

Things briefly bore all the hallmarks of starting to, as they say, ‘kick off’ a bit, but I think what probably happened was that they glanced in the car, realised they were a bit out of their depth and as fast as it had all tensed up, it simmered back down again and we were on our way.

It wasn’t really clear what had gone on but then quite a lot of things in Lebanon are not exactly clear to our way of thinking. What was 100% abundantly clear however was how amazing Tourelles is; beautiful, fascinating, historic, quirky, welcoming, colourful, hospitable beyond your wildest dreams.

Lovely, lovely people too and most importantly as far as these pages are concerned, the wines are truly outstanding.

Get over there and pay Faouzi a visit, your reception will be technicolour, loud, splendid and very large. And talking of splendid and very large… look what we’ve got you for Christmas!

 

Domaine des Tourelles Vielles Vignes Cinsault Magnum, 2015

From really old vineyards planted as high as the summit of Snowdon, this is just a fabulous wine. Properly deep and textured, savoury, layered, just a tiny bit edgy, grown up and for me the wine that still speaks most of the amazing country we visited back in May. Big bottles… big flavours… Big up.

Domaine des Tourelles Red, 2013

A blend of Syrah, Cabernet and Cinsault, it feels adventurous and slightly wild, it feels right to drink it at the sort of meals where you eat with your hands rather than knives and forks, where you lick the meat juices from your fingers and where you suck the last remnants of meat from the bones.

Find out more – much more – about Domaine des Tourelles RIGHT HERE