Talking and walking with a Lebanese winemaker

“Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.” Evelyn Waugh I can’t say that the Winesleuth is ever bored and so I was running to meet the Lebanese winemaker, Habib Karam at a winetasting in West London, late as always. I don’t know how it happens, time just seems to creep up on me and before I know it, I’m late. Habib, however, being of Mediterranean stock, much like the Winesleuth, was not too concerned with my timekeeping as I found him sampling various wines at the tasting where I was meeting him. “Come, you must try this one” and he dragged me by the hand to try this “amazing” white from southern France or his favourite red Burgundy or “this minerally Alsatian”. After about 2o minutes my head was spinning and not from the wine. Have you ever had a winemaker take you around a tasting where none of his wines are on display that day? It was a fun experience to hear his critiques of the other winemakers. “Too much oak…. unbalanced…. green….” were just some of his findings. He did however also find wines he considered sublime and I was also treated to his exposition on them and their composition. Since I had gotten there so late in the day ( a fact of which was not entirely my fault as Habib had called me right before I was to meet him to change our meeting place), the tasting was ending and I still hadn’t had a chance to ask Habib any questions. “No problem. We walk now and you ask me your questions. ” I knew I was going to be late for dinner but Habib was such an engaging character that I found myself trailing in his wake down Holland Park Rd. Habib has a day job. He’s not a full time winemaker as I soon discovered jogging to keep up with his long strides. His day job is as a pilot for a Middle Eastern airline but his true...

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