When Joseph Bitar, a retired general, started planting vines in 1998, he did not know that he was about to initiate the rebirth of winemaking in the ancient city of Batroun. That’s how 10 hectares of vines planted on these abandoned hills of Lebanon became known today as Coteaux de Botrys, the ancient Phoenician and Greek name of Batroun.
In 2006, the general passed away, leaving the management of the estate to his daughters fully committed to perpetuate his memory.
The winery focuses on premium quality, cultivating the vines to produce low yields. Only around 35,000 bottles per year.
Coteaux de Botrys uses traditional production methods. Harvesting is done manually, intervention in the vineyard is limited to the use of organic and non-chemical fertilizers.
The approach is minimalist: the least amount of Sulphur possible, relatively short maceration times, no additional yeast and very little finishing in barrels except for the Chateau; we allow the ingredients to express themselves”.
The Batroun terroir
Batroun is now home to eight wineries making it Lebanon’s second most productive wine region after the Bekaa. The grapes are grown between 400-1,300 meters in vineyards that are either sea facing or planted further inland.
Planted across three nearby villages, the vineyard of Coteaux de Botrys is characterized by a multitude of micro-terroirs. The soil varies between the more dominant clay-limestone and limestone. What distinguishes Batroun from the Bekaa is first and foremost a light sea breeze which enhances the Mourvedre especially. In fact, Coteaux de Botrys is one of the rare estates in Lebanon to cultivate the Mourvedre, a variety said to have originated in Lebanon before being introduced in Spain by the Phoenicians in 500 BC.