Our experience enjoying Lebanese cuisine at Open Sesame in West Los Angeles also including a wine tasting of wines from Lebanon. Christopher Lavin, regional sales manager for Broadbent Selections, conducted our tasting.
We already knew Christopher from the time he was Sommelier for two of Long Beach's five star restaurants, L'Opera and The Madison. His work at these restaurants earned him "Sommelier of the Year' Award from the Southern California Restaurant Writers.
He told us how Lebanon has a history of wine making extending back almost six thousand years. The land was peopled by Phoenicians who were renowned principally for their wide travel and trading. They were shipping Lebanon wine to Egypt two thousand years before Christ.
Also taking part in the tasting was Eddie Simon of Misa Imports.
The first wine, served with our Mezza/appetizers, was Altitudes IXSIR White 2009. It was a blend of Muscat, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon. Another white wine served was a 2012 Chateau Musar, a blend of Viognier, Vermentino and Chardonnay.
The first red wine served with the entrees was Altitudes IXSIR 2010, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo and Caldaro. This was followed by another IXSIR vintage, a 2010 Grand Reserve from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
We noted that all the Lebanon wines we tasted were blends and that all had enjoyed much bottle aging.
Our last wine was truly memorable. It was a signature 2003 Chateau Musar Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon's best known wine region, with the name of Winemaker Gaston Hochar on the label.
Some of these wines are to be found on Open Sesame's wine list.