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Lebanon : The Wine Week at La Cigale


World Lebanon


The Wine Week at La Cigale

At the end of 2009, Joseph E. Bou Samra, chairman and managing director of the stores “La Cigale”, delicatessen specialized in gourmet products and fine wines in Beyrouth, decided to organize a week dedicated to wine from December 6th to 13th in his two shops in Zalka and Achrafieh. The project became real after he met Pierre-Hervé Masson, wine specialist in France. Pierre-Hervé Masson introduced the guests to the main stages of wine tasting during the opening diner and the four tasting sessions.

Pierre-Hervé Masson

To launch the Wine Week, Joseph E. Bou Samra and his wife Mona invited 30 guests for diner. In collaboration with the cooks of 'La Cigale', Pierre-Hervé Masson created a menu to highlight the French wines served for this opportunity, and vice versa. In order to offer a large choice of food and wine matches and to get the most comments possible, he suggested two different wines with every dish. In the bright decor of the restaurant “Le Cigalou”, Pierre-Hervé Masson selected five Italian wines and three Spanish wines in the collection of “La Cigale”. Orvietto 2008, Soave classico 2008 white
“La Poésie”, Chianti Coli, réserve 2005, Terzolo di San Isidoro 2008 for the Italian wines.
Tres Luna 2008, Wences 2004, Barolo 2005 'César Pavese' for the Spanish wines..

Great Cognac

During the second day, Pierre-Hervé Masson prepared a journey through the main wine regions of France: Champagne, Bourgogne, Loire, Vallée du Rhône and Bordeaux area. The Wednesday session took place in the intimous and pleasant setting of the first floor at the store 'La Cigale' in Achrafieh. Pierre-Hervé Masson presented the same wines tasted the previous Tuesday in Zalka, with one exception: the Chianti classico “Pratale” instead of the Chianti Colli. Of course a talk was first given on how to taste correctly and explaining the factors influencing the quality of wines, especially the soil. The day, during which the guests learned a lot, ended friendly on dishes of mature cheese and fine cold meats prepared by the team of 'La Cigale', and cherry on the cake, with a tasting of the VSOP Dupuy Cognac..

Quiz for the guests

During the last day dedicated to the French wines, the guests tasted most of the wines that were proposed during the week as well as the Brouilly 2008 from the Maison Louis Tête and the Château Phélan Ségur 2004, that have been blind tested during a little quizz the participants had to answer in order to received an unofficial diploma of “introductory to wine tasting”, created by the coordinators of “La Cigale”.
As for each of his talks, Pierre-Hervé Masson got back over how the correct way to taste a wine, decomposing the essential phasis of successive appreciation of the visual aspoecr, the nose -i.e. aromas exuding out of the glass before tasting, or attack- and the description of the gustative sensations. To lead to the finale estimation of balance, harmony and intrinsic value of the tasted wine.
Before leaving, after having enjoyed delicious dishes prepared by the team of 'La Cigale' everyone could taste once more the VSOP Dupuy Cognac, final point to a rewarding and fascinating week.