Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan
75cl * 14% ABV * Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
Of all the history that influences Serge Hochar and those at Chateau Musar, it is the Roman temple at Ba’albek that holds the most sway. As Serge says: ‘This is the only serious temple erected to Bacchus - the god of wine - anywhere in the Roman world. And they put it here, in the Beka’a. Why? Because the Romans and Greeks, the Phoenicians and Minoans, and all peoples who came before them, all knew that the Beka’a is the spiritual home of wine.’
The harvest of 2011 posed one of the most challenging experiences in winemaking at Chateau Musar over the last 20 years, as it was one of the most atypical years in Lebanese history. The year began with a cold January but with insufficient rain followed by a similar February. Although March was sunnier, April and May produced the really big surprise with a level of rainfall to match January, February and March combined! Despite this, the winery was the first in Lebanon to implement organically certified viticulture in 2006 as every wine is produced naturally with a “non-interventionist” wine-making philosophy.
This 2011 Chateau Musar is dark blood red colour with a rich, fragrant fruit nose of mulberries, black cherries, plums with a hint of mocha. The palate is full, intense and concentrated, characterised by black forest-fruits with elegant spice. The tannins are soft and juicy and a long finish. Chateau Musar Red 2011 is a vibrantly powerful vintage and cellared well it will keep for decades. A great match for red meats, especially game, seasonal casseroles and mature cheeses.
Jancis Robinson MW gave this review in 2018: Fairly deep ruby. A denser, more concentrated, more linear nose than the 2010 served alongside. A certain dustiness of aroma. This seems more obviously Cabernet than most Musar reds. Still quite youthful. Falls away a little on the end. Well judged but less distinctive and less obviously Lebanese than some vintages. Decent balance. Certainly not over the top.