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Syrian wine to make its debut in the UK s/syrian-w ine-debut-uk-171704054.html

March 20, 2012

Just 200 km from the site of shellings and full-scale military assaults against anti-government protesters in Syria sits a patch of undisturbed vineyards helmed by a Lebanese-Syrian family about to release their first wine into the UK market. Domaine Bargylus, near the town of Latakia, in the northwest part of the country, is about to be the first to release a Syria-made wine into the UK, reported trade wine publication Decanter this week. The 12-hectare vineyard, built on limestone and clay soils, sits at an elevation of 900 meters and produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blancs. The Saadé family has been working since 2003 to revive a 2,000-year-old winemaking tradition in the region, which began with Roman settlers. A bottle of Bargylus wine will retail for £33 (€40) and will be available from London importers Philglas & Swiggot in high-end restaurants like Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing At the Berkeley, says Decanter. The wines are not sold in Syria but created specifically for international export. Meanwhile, the UK likewise welcomed wine from another unexpected country last year, when upmarket British grocery chain Waitrose became the first UK supermarket to line its liquor shelves with wine from India. In addition to French Bordeaux and German Rieslings, customers can now buy red Zampa Syrahs and crisp white Ritu Viogniers made from grapes grown in the Maharashtra region of western India. The UK is the biggest wine importer in the world. However, Brits are now beginning to reconsider the wine-making potential of what has long been considered hostile growing conditions. The royal family, for instance, planted 16,000 champagne grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir at Windsor Great Park last year.