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Aleppo, the deep-rooted city that embraced history since the beginning of time has been incessantly vibrant with life, advanced social life where all different industries and trade flourished. It is the city of elegant life, tasty food and developed drinks that attracted our beloved father, the late Habib Cortas, from Zahle, Lebanon where our grandfather had established the industry of beverages and liquor since 1881. He founded a liquor company with the late Toufiq Wardeh.

We, the Cortas family, have been in the liquor industry for four generations, passed from father to son. We developed the industry in Aleppo, rich in vineyards and grapevines. Thus, Cortas is name of a family well-established in this occupation for four generations.

As Aleppo was known to be on the Silk Road, it had also been known since the third millennium B.C., that is five thousand years ago, to be on the Wine Road. The two French writers and archeological researchers, Brigitte Lion and Cecile Michel, alluded to this fact in their book, Banquets et Fetes au Proche-Orient Ancien.

 

The trade in pottery and containers in particular was widespread as these were essential for the transport of materials to faraway places, such as wine which was transported from the northern regions in large jars since the third millennium B.C.

In the second millennium B.C. it was transported from karkamish (Jarablos) and from Aleppo whose port was the city of Imar on the Euphrates that is Maskaneh. This route down to the shores of Basra was known as the wine road. The jars were sealed with impermeable cloth or skin coated with mud, with the seal of the supplier impressed on it so as to identify the sender and the date of despatch.

We, the Cortas family, produced here in Aleppo the various alcoholic beverages, such as wine, Arak, liqueurs, mousseux, vermouth and other alimentary beverages. And we have received a number of prizes, some foreign and others in Syria.

We list hereinafter the basic alcoholic products that we have been famous for over the years:

1- Arak:

Special Arak:
We produce Cortas Special Arak which is prepared from the best kinds of white grapes grown in Jabal Sweida, and excellent Syrian aniseed. Alcohol content is 51.5. The bottle is packed in an elegant blue carton.

Dinan Arak:
The word "Dinan" is the plural of "Dann" which means an earthen wine jar. This type of arak is also of quality and is made from the grapes grown in the districts of Aleepo, Homs and Hama plus aniseed. The degree of alcohol is 51.5.

Remark:
In producing Arak, we follow the traditional way of putting the aniseed with the arak during the re-distillation, and not the aniseed oil. This gives the product freshness.

2- Wine: The following brands

A-Saint Simeon wine:

It was so named after the huge archeological site near Aleppo which is the Cathedral of St. Simeon the Stylite or St. Simeon Citadel. At one time this region was rich with vineyards. However, the grapes used in making this wine are very special and they come from Sweida Region which is 1500-1600 meters above sea level. The grapes grow unirrigated and are exposed to sunshine most of the days of the year, and the soil is basaltic resulting from volcanic lava. Grapes contain healthy materials such as iron and phosphorus. This wine comes in three types: Red, White and Rosé.

Red:
Wine has a distinguished color and flavor unlike many kinds of wine in the world. The crop from which it is made is very special: it is Syrian, grown on Syrian soil. It is different from similar red wines, and its flavor is close to the wine of Merlot type.

White:
Wine is also of distinguished color and flavor of Sweida district which are seldom found in other white wines in the world. The grape from which it is made is called "Sallti" and it is of even better taste than Chardonnay.

Rosé:
Wine is made of red grapes, but it is prepared in the method of white wine.

B- Nectar wine:

It is made of the grapes of Aleppo, Homs and Hama regions which have been always famous for the quality of their soil and the suitable rainy days and shiny days that give the grapes their basic ingredients, thus giving Nectar wine its particular taste.

The word "Nectar" in Greek mythology means the drink of the gods. The region had plenty of wine and oil presses. To this day there is an ancient wine press in Bara; above the opening where the grapes slide for squeezing there are two verses of Greek poetry that translate as follows: "You see the drink that resembles nectar perfumed with the blessings of Bakhos (God of wine) produced by the grapevines scorched by the hot sunshine".

This brand is produced in three types: Red, white and rosé.

Red:
It is made of black grapes having the shape of olives. They derive their peculiar taste from the nourishment of Syrian soil the central region of Homs and Hama. This wine is to be taken with food, especially with red meat, poultry and cheese, at a 16 degrees C. temperature.

White:
It is made of white grapes round in shape and having the color of sunshine in the morning. Their taste is a mixture of sweet and sour, and when fermented a wine is produced that has wonderful color, taste and transparency. To be taken with food, specially with white meat and cheese at a temperature of 10-11 degrees C.


Rosé:
It is made of the same grapes as red wine, only it is prepared in the method of white wine. To be taken with food, especially with poultry at a temperature of 10-11 degrees C.

3- Vermouth:

It is a sweet wine with a degree of alcohol reaching 16-18. It has the special vermouth flavor whose herbs are imported from the city of Torino in Italy, famous for the preparation of such herbs.

4- Nectar Mousseux:

It resembles champagne; made of St. Simeon white wine with carbon gas added. It has a particular taste.



5- Dinan Liqueurs:

A collection of excellent liqueurs, in particular:

Cherry Liqueur - prepared from black cherries that come from the town of Ariha near Aleppo, for which it is known.

Cortassin Liqueur - a specialty of Cortas Family. Prepared from the distillation of grains and herbs exceeding eleven in number to produce this digestive drink.

Other brands include: Curacao, Cocoa, and Irish Cream, Mint, Bananas and others.


6- Week-end Brandy:

It is made by distilling white wine and re-distilling it without adding aniseed. Thus, it resembles French cognac. Grade of alcohol 40 degrees.

 

Therefore, we are very proud in making such liquids which maintain our legacy in foods and beverages.

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