El Ixsir 2014: a luxurious red from Lebanon
Back in January, I promised I would try to feature a Lebanese wine every month so here’s my second selection: El Ixsir 2014, a smooth, seductive premium wine from vines grown at the sort of altitude you might normally expect to find ski runs.
Ixsir is a winery whose name derives from “Iksir”, the original Arabic word for “Elixir”, a secret potion that supposedly grants eternal youth. Whether or not it achieves such a desirable outcome (fingers crossed), this blend of 60 percent Syrah, 30 Cabernet Sauvignon, with the remainder Merlot, makes it well worth at least trying.
From 3 different plots, all above a thousand metres, in the hills that run along the Lebanese border with Syria, the highest vines, in Ainata, grow at an incredible 1,800 metres, fabulous for freshness and acidity.
El Ixsir 2014 (£49.50 or £44.50 if you’re buying a case, which can be a mix of different wines, at Great Wine Co) is a deep and fascinating purple. There’s fresh, lifted, foraged blackberry and red cherry, with aniseed root, cedar and cigar box. Syrah brings its unmistakeable wild, peppery lift and there’s a hint of leafy spearmint from the Cab. The generous tannins provide a bit of grip and the finish is long and luxurious. The perfect partner for roast beef or fillet steak, this would also work well with a meaty pasta dish.
If you’re on a tighter budget, then do try the wine I featured last month, from Chateau Ksara, but I would really recommend splashing out for this, the perfect wine for your Valentine.