Formed in 1978 during the civil war years (1975 – 1990), Château Kefraya is one of only a handful of Lebanese properties who managed to keep operating through the conflict. For Michel de Bustros, whose family had been growing grapes in Kefraya in the Bekaa Valley since 1950, it seemed a natural progression, having supplied grapes to Château Musar and Château Ksara for many years. He felt that he too could create something special himself from the mature vines on his estate, but the next twelve years no doubt the most difficult imaginable for any fledgling winery, as it was occupied, shelled, and even saw its French winemaker mistakenly captured and imprisoned as a suspected terrorist.

Michel’s foresight paid off however, and since the end of the war the winery has blossomed to become Lebanon’s second largest, making wines at the very highest levels and garnering acclaim from such esteemed critics as Robert Parker.
This success has come in part from a profound understanding of the potential of the soils within the estate’s holdings, with grapes for the finest wines coming from vineyards at higher altitude in the hills, situated on such diverse terrain as stony river beds, limestone terraces and sandy slopes, and each plot vinified separately to give an enviable palette of possibilities at blending time. The winery is amongst the most advanced in Lebanon, having undergone a $7m investment in 2009, and the estate includes one of the most popular restaurants in the Bekaa.

Château Kefraya's wines

  • ***½

    Vissi d’Arte 2007

    Grapes: Chardonnay, Sauvignon

    Fresh and lively in style, this has some lovely well integrated oak notes underlying fresh ripe fruit aromatics: peach and nectarine with hints of almond. Clean and tight on the palate, with peach, greengage and floral notes. Elegant.

  • ***

    Myst de Château Kefraya Rosé 2010

    Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cincault, Grenache, Tempranillo

    A pleasing mouthfiller. Lifted red berry, fresh and clean, with light savoury notes on the nose, and a crunchy palate of good acidity and just-ripe berry.

  • **½

    Château Kefraya 2005

    Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvèdre

    Generous sweet plum nose, red fruits, floral notes and hints of leather. Supple, clean and fine. Mid weight, good balance, pleasant but simple.

  • ***

    Château Kefraya 2007

    Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvèdre

    Cabernet dominant nose - some herb under ripe raspberry and blackcurrant. Supple & fine, with plenty of pleasing vegetal notes through red fruits. Grippy finish.

  • ***½

    Château Kefraya Comte de M 2006

    Grapes: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Syrah

    Supple, sweet fresh plum nose, berry, sweet cherry and leather. Very pleasing. Full palate with fine tannins, crushed red fruit aromatics, and hints of angelica and herb.

  • ****

    Château Kefraya Comte de M 2007

    Grapes: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Syrah

    Warm sweet red fruits, prune, leather and liquorice on the nose. Finer. Tighter on the palate than 2006 and cooler too. Finer tannins and giving red fruits: cherry, blackberry, jam and spice. Excellent wine.

  • ****

    Nectar de Kefraya

    This is a fine mistelle (grape juice fortified with grape spirit distilled at the winery) with a remarkable character imparted by prolonged barrel ageing. Pure old cognac on the nose: old oak, vanilla and honeyed spices with wafts of hazelnut and toffee. Very strongly flavoured and intensely sweet on the palate with fudge, raisins, dried fruits, concentrated honey and even a hint of old single cask Speyside malt whisky. Recommended as an accompaniment to dessert – I say forget the pudding!

  • Rani Azzi – Winemaker at Château Kefraya

    Rani Azzi – Winemaker at Château Kefraya

  • Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon at Kefraya. Bekaa Valley in the mid distance. Syria beyond the peaks.

    Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon at Kefraya. Bekaa Valley in the mid distance. Syria beyond the peaks.

  • Vines in a dry river bed.

    Vines in a dry river bed.

  • That’s where the $7m went!

    That’s where the $7m went!

  • The Barrel cellar

    The Barrel cellar