Tucked away in the village of Khenchara, Mount Lebanon, is a special place where thirsty locals and tourists alike gather to get a taste of Riachi wine. Brothers Roy and Ryan Riachi are now the 8th generation winemakers and distillers, and they have kept some of the traditions alive—with a modern twist.
Aside from being descendants of a long line of winemakers—since 1839, to be exact—these two brothers are shaking up the local industry with their bold choices of varietals and re-vamping old styles of wine with modern technology.
Their newest arrival is the traditional Faqsh, made in the old style but using high-tech, temperature-controlled fermenters. Upon pouring the wine, one can instantly notice its caramel-tinged color and roasted aroma.
It’s something very unique with notes of toffee and roasted nuts, a reimagined nostalgic taste of “the good old days.”
The Riachi brothers are also challenging the boundaries of Lebanese wines by including varietals such as Syrah, a dark and spicy red wine that isn’t commonly seen even in European markets. It’s been one of their best sellers over the past winter season.
In addition to winemaking, the brothers have also been experimenting with distillation. For as long as they’ve been making wine, the Riachi family has also been making arak, and now they are branching out into a 100% Lebanese gin and even a single malt whiskey.
The gin, known as “Junipium,” consists of twelve different botanicals, including cardamom, basil, and citrus, which gives it a very aromatic and herbal flavor.
The brothers have further plans to expand and experiment with their lines of products in the next coming year or so, according to Roy Riachi. However, his lips are sealed about what those plans are exactly.
If you’re looking to experience the Riachi wines and spirits for yourself, you can visit them at their tasting room next to their winery in Khenchara.
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