Domaine de Bargylus – Syria
Domaine de Bargylus was founded in 2003 in the mountains of northwestern Syria, not far from the Mediterranean port of Latakia in Syria. It is the brainchild of brothers Karim and Sandro Saade, Christians who come from a wealthy merchant family. Their goal is to raise the profile and reputation of both Syrian and Lebanese wines to the level they deserve by making top quality wines from French grape varieties grown on carefully selected terroirs. Their soils are rich with limestone and silex/flintstone. Great temperature variations between night and day give the grapes maximumfreshness, subtlety, fruit concentration and elegance. The wines are aged in French oak barrels (of which 20% are new each year) for 14 months. They then undergo bottle ageing for 48 months. They are released a minimum of five years after the year of production and absolutely no sooner.
The most dangerous wine growing region in the world
Making wine in Syria is a real challenge given the lack of wine culture and infrastructure. The task became even more difficult with the outbreak of the war in 2011, rendering the Saadé brothers unable to visit the estate ever since! Besides the obvious security problems, Bargylus also poses a logistical challenge: Harvesting is done over the phone by the two brothers. Grape samples for each variety and for each plot are sent by taxi for tasting in Beirut in order to determine the dierent harvesting dates. Laboratory tests are conducted outside the country. Endless and complex processes are also necessary to ensure the exportation of the wines.
And if these problems were not already enough, the region sits on one of the world’s most dangerous earthquake fault lines. Sadly the devastating earthquake of February 2023 will make life even more complicated for the indomitable Saade brothers and their winery.
Their red and white wines have earned huge respect in the last 20 years or so from international wine journalists. Domaine de Bargylus Red was described as “the finest wine produced in the Eastern Mediterranean” by Jancis Robinson in her World Wine Atlas – 7th Edition. The American Express “Centurion” magazine summed Bargylus up perfectly in 2021:-
“Vintage after vintage, through crisis after crisis, the Saadés have made extraordinary wines and, in so doing, are helping fuel the belief in an eastern Mediterranean wine renaissance to come.”