Of all the white wine grape varietals, surely the one which has spread the furthest and is most widely appreciated is the Chardonnay. This green skinned grape is now grown all over the Old and New Worlds, from New Zealand to the Americas, from England to Chile, and is one of the first varietals people think of when considering white wine grapes. Perhaps this is because of its huge popularity which reached a peak in the 1990s, thanks to new technologies combining with traditional methods to bring the very best features out of the Chardonnay grape, and allow its unique qualities to shine through. Most fine Chardonnay wines use a process known as malolactic fermentation, wherein the malic acids in the grape juice are converted to lactic acids, allowing a creamier, buttery nature to come forward in the wine. No grape varietal is better suited to this process than Chardonnay, which manages to balance these silky, creamy notes with fresh white fruit flavors beautifully.
Lebanon has been producing wines for over five thousand years, and was once home to the Phoenicians â€“ perhaps the first great viticulturists whose influence spread all over Europe and the middle east, and resulted in many of the great wine regions we know and love today. Lebanese wine culture in the modern age in mainly centered in the eastern part of the country, where the climatic conditions and terroir is ideal for growing a wide range of native and imported grape varietals. Indeed, along the Syrian border, wineries have long been cultivating many fine French grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, which make up for a large proportion of all the grapes grown in the country. Lebanese wineries are certainly on the increase, as more demand for the country's wines has led to a relative boom in viticulture over recent years, with the number of wineries doubling in the last decade.