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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.
There are few countries in the world with a wine history as long or as impressive as that of Lebanon. Indeed, the Phoenicians who once lived on the coastal areas of the country were amongst the first people to spread viticulture around their empire, and wine was being imported from Lebanon into ancient Egypt almost five thousand years ago. Today, wine production in Lebanon remains strong, with over half a million cases of wine being produced annually. In fact, the last decade or so has seen wine production in Lebanon increase enormously, with new wineries opening each year in the eastern part of the country, near the Syrian border where the climatic conditions are more favorable for viticulture. Whilst modern wineries in Lebanon prefer to use classic French grape varietals, there is an increasing interest in using native grapes, which are producing some highly characterful results.