Monday, 10 November 2014

A Middle Eastern Delight - Chateau Musar

I had another boutique New Zealand winery for this post, which will now be my next post, but I had the opportunity to taste the 2001 Chateau Musar, which was just absolutely stunning and had to get it on here.

Chateau Musar are based in the Bekaa Valley in the Lebanon, the first vines were planted in 1930 by Gaston Hocheron on his return from a trip to Bordeaux. In 1959 Gaston's son Serge became winemaker after completing his winemaking studies at the University of Oenology in Bordeaux. Throughout the conflict that ravaged the region, they only failed to produce a vintage only a hand full of times, which when you consider it is pretty amazing.

Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan from vineyard sites near the villages of Aana and Kefraya, the vines are an average age of 40 years old with low yields and planted in gravelly soil over limestone. Each individual component is fermented separately in concrete vats, then after 6 months they are transferred in French oak for a further year. They are then blended together to create the iconic taste that is Musar and placed for another 12 months in the concrete vats, when it is then bottled. After bottling it is then paced in there cellars for a further 4 maturation before they release it for sale, so by the time it hits our shelves it's already seven years old!

The 2001 had this lovely, mature brick red colour in the glass, with wonderfully pronounced aromas of dark fruit, leather, spice and cigar box. On the palate the fruit came over as much more mature, with figs and prunes, then all that lovely spice and cigar box combined together beautifully, there was a little touch of acidity and soft silky tannins. I've tasted quite a few vintages over the years even going back to one from the 60's, but this has to be one of my favourite vintages, Musar is definitely a wine that I would recommend, but make sure it's nice and mature, as it gets so much better with age.

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