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, with the grapes fermented in cement vats, before being matured for around 12 months in French Nevers (oak barriques), with only a few per vintage being new oak. By the end of the third year the separate grape varieties are blended and then the wine spends three to four years further maturing in the bottle.
The Cinsault of 2008 seemed to benefit most from the heat and exceptional weather and showed abundant red fruit aromas, Carignan displayed blackcurrant and black cherry notes and the Cabernet Sauvignon gave us structure with herbs, coffee and dark berry fruits. The grapes this year were intensely juicy. The wine has a beautiful rich scarlet colour with an alluring nose of black and red fruits, cherries, coffee, leather and cloves. A natural intensity with well-integrated tannins and good acidity – this is a rich, warm, concentrated vintage of Chateau Musar showing an abundance of fruit, energy and considerable finesse. Mature and balanced with a long finish.
Drinking window: Now - 2045
"Heady and beguiling with a gamey note on the nose. Very sweet and young; well balanced on the palate. No hurry at all to drink this youthful ferment. Very tight, dry wine that is so much younger than any other vintage tasted. So much more youthful than a Bordeaux 2008!" - Jancis Robinson, March 2018