Region: Bekka Valley, Lebanon
Ageing Potential: Drink now - 2025
Perfect with: Braised beef cheek, star anise smoked duck, mature hard cheese
Why You'll Love It?
Chateau Musar is one of the most famous producers from Lebanon. Not a country that's commonly associated with wine today but one that has been producing wines for more than 30 centuries. The estate is situated in Bekka Valley, Lebanon's most important farming region, 30km east of Beirut. Established in 1930, the winery has come a long way and still remains very much a family run business.
The Musar red is their flagship red, it's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan. The grapes have always been organically farmed from mature bushvines, handpicked and fermented with native yeasts. Ambient yeast adds more character to a wine and helps to highlight its sense of place compared to commercial yeasts used for their predictability and being generally 'less risky'. But this is not Musar's philosophy. Serge Hochar believes a “Good wine should be dangerously enjoyable. I want to make a wine that troubles me.”
6 mths after harvest each variety is racked off into separate French oak barrels to mature for 12 months. In the second year after harvest the wines are blended and placed back in cement tanks before being bottled in the third year. Bottles are aged for another 3-4 years before release. So on average their wines are held back 7 years before release. Extremely age worthy, can be aged up to 20 years or more.
What it tastes like?
A beautiful deep, ruby hue with lots of almost confected cherry, blackcurrant and cranberries on the nose with a hint of liquorice. The palate has an explosion of brambly and hedgerow fruits with blueberries and cherries - this is a mid-weight vintage from Chateau Musar with excellent acidity and fine tannins.