Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan
75cl * Vegan * 14% ABV * Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
Of all the history that influenced the late, great Serge Hochar and those at Château Musar, it was the Roman temple at Baalbek that held the most sway. As Serge said: ‘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 Bekaa. Why? Because the Romans and Greeks, the Phoenicians and Minoans, and all peoples who came before them, all knew that the Bekaa is the spiritual home of wine.’
Château Musar itself is set in the Hochar family's 18th-century castle overlooking the Mediterranean at Ghazir. Musar comes from the Arabic word for the place, M'zar, meaning a place of extraordinary beauty. A good hour from the vineyards in the Bekaa valley, the castle became the winery in 1930 and as the production expanded, deeper cellars were cut into the rugged mountainside. At harvest time the grapes are handpicked by Bedouins at dawn, who then drive them through the mountains to the castle for vinification. All Château Musar wines are at least seven years in the making. The release date of this vintage however, did not happen as planned! Their policy has always been to release the Chateau reds and whites when they are ready for drinking and this is generally 7 years from the harvest, but in 2013 this wine was far from ready and needed more time. So they decided to postpone the release for one year, then another, then another until they were finally certain that the 2006 was ready for drinking in the spring of 2017.
An astonishing year - the Chateau Musar red 2006 is 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.
Drinking window: Now - 2040
"Another new chapter in terms of density of colour. For the first time (tasting from old to young) this could be described as crimson. Seriously heady! Smells exotic and mature on the nose but not on the palate. But compared with the older vintages I have just tasted this of course is a baby… Masses of concentration and allure but, although it would give pleasure, it would clearly be sensible to keep it for quite a few more years. Lovely combination of fruit and freshness. Really vivacious. Sweet and rigorous." - Jancis Robinson, March 2018