Deep ruby colour and an aroma of fresh hedgerow berries – bramble, blackcurrant and cherry, also more complexity coming through later with leather and delicate, peppery-spice notes. The flavours are similar, with some soft vanilla, warming spice and a cocoa note. Fresh acidity and supple tannins make the wine a perfect accompaniment to richer, fattier meats like duck or a ribeye steak.
It’s a beauty of course, a blend as before of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault. It was fiendishly tricky vintage with a frost in April and a heat wave in September, threatening local disaster. Indeed some 65% of Cab. Sauvignon was lost. What little wine that was made though, is glorious – Jonathan Ray, The Spectator, July 2021
Another seductive vintage of Musar with expressive aromatics of sweet red cherries, plum liquor, cinnamon spice, sweet cedar, cherry tobacco and balsamic reduction. The palate shows wonderful textural precision with polished sleek tannins, stewed cherries, hints of cola, pithy black currant and sweet sappy spice and a suave, super elegant finish that possesses an impressively pure, weightless intensity. This is a seriously classy Musar that has more in common with harmoniously elegant vintages like the 2010 than higher horsepower years like 1995 or 1999. Simply beautiful to drink now but exhibits a vibrant freshness that will keep this wine singing for many years to come.
96/100 Greg Sherwood MW (March 2022)
Producer Information: Chateau Musar
CULTIVATION OF THE VINE GOES BACK TO THE PHOENICIANS WHO TRADED THEIR WINES ALONG THE MEDITERRANEAN TRADE ROUTES. CENTURIES LATER, THE ROMANS CHOSE BAALBEK IN THE EAST OF LEBANON AS THE SITE TO BUILD THE TEMPLE OF BACCHUS AS THEIR TRIBUTE TO THE GOD OF WINE, A TEMPLE WHICH STILL STANDS TODAY.
CHATEAU MUSAR, FOUNDED IN 1930 BY GASTON HOCHAR IN AN 18TH CENTURY CASTLE, IS LOCATED IN GHAZIR, 15 MILES NORTH OF BEIRUT. STILL A FAMILY CONCERN. DURING THE WAR YEARS IN LEBANON, CHATEAU MUSAR MANAGED TO CONSISTENTLY PRODUCE HIGH QUALITY WINE, LEADING THE "WINE SPECTATOR" MAGAZINE TO USE HEADLINES SUCH AS. "CHATEAU MUSAR MAKES GREAT, AGEWORTHY REDS AMID THE CHAOS OF LEBANON'S CIVIL WAR".
CHATEAU MUSAR ATTAINED INTERNATIONAL NOTORIETY DURING THE WINE FAIR OF BRISTOL IN ENGLAND IN 1979, WHERE A SPECIALIZED PRESS NAMED IT THE "FIND OF THE FAIR".
THE VINEYARDS OF CHATEAU MUSAR ARE LOCATED AT AN ALTITUDE OF OVER 3,000 FEET (1,000 METERS) IN THE BEKAA VALLEY WHERE THE VINES ARE SHELTERED BY THE SURROUNDING MOUNTAINS RUNNING PARALLEL TO THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST. THEY COVER 130 HECTARES, PRODUCE A LIMITED YIELD OF ABOUT 25 HL/HA, RESULTING IN APPROXIMATELY 20,000 CASES OF THE "CHATEAU MUSAR" WINE, AND A PRODUCTION OF DIFFERENT OTHER WINES.
THE BEKAA VALLEY IS ALMOST FROST AND DISEASE FREE, WITH LONG MILD SUMMERS, RAINY WINTERS, AND AN AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 25 DEGREES CELSIUS.
THE RED WINES ARE MADE FROM A BLEND OF DIFFERENT GRAPE VARIETIES, CABERNET SAUVIGNON, CINSAULT, CARIGNAN, GRENACHE, AND MOURVEDRE. THE VINES ARE GROWN ON A GRAVELY SOIL WITH A LIMESTONE BASE. THE COMPOSITION VARIES FROM ONE YEAR TO THE NEXT, GIVING CHATEAU MUSAR EACH YEAR A DIFFERENT CHARACTER AND IDENTITY.
THE WHITE WINES ARE MADE FROM A BLEND OF OBAIDEH (THE NATIVE CHARDONNAY) AND MERWAH (CLOSE TO THE SEMILLON), WHICH ARE LOCAL GRAPES GROWN IN THE BEKAA VALLEY AND ON MOUNT LEBANON.
CHATEAU MUSAR MAKES EVERY EFFORT AT PRODUCING TOTALLY NATURAL WINES, LETTING EACH ONE DEVELOP ITS OWN CHARACTER.