Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan
150cl * 14% ABV * Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
Chateau Musar undoubtedly is one of the world’s wine icons. Since it’s founding in 1930 by Gaston Hochar, the Hochar family have acquired a reputation for producing outstanding wines inspired by Lebanon’s 6,000-year winemaking heritage. It was the late, great Serge Hochar, Gaston's son, who perfected the formula for Chateau Musar’s Red and helped build iconic status, becoming Decanter Magazine’s first ‘Man of the Year’ in 1984.
Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is an equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bush vines. They have an average age of 40 years old and produce just 15 to 35 hectolitres per hectare.
In Serge's own words, “if you give my wines more time, they will give you more joy”. The 2013 harvest at Chateau Musar could be summarised in one word – elegance. A dense deep red with our characteristic sweet-savoury-spicy blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tastings from the vats in the winter of 2013, revealed elegance and roundness with a spice-dominant palate – liquorice, clove, cinnamon with a warm coulis of red fruits. There are raspberries and blueberries on the palate, this is an elegant vintage, integrated and balanced with fine tannin. No sense of Cabernet Sauvignon here, a more Cinsault dominated vintage with softer red fruits.
Chateau Musar recommend Butler's Thief cork remover to open their wines as corks can degrade during a long cellaring. After careful decanting (and discarding of sediment, usually in the last centimetre of the bottle) the wine should be allowed to breathe for an hour and served at 18°C with roasts, grills (especially lamb), casseroles, game, and mature cheeses.
"Marvellously warm Mediterranean fruits on the nose, would be autumnal but for their vigorous presence, as rich and robust as expected on the palate, almost the essence of Lebanon in the glass with rich spice and cooling breezes, the dry herby fruit flows with energy over the palate before giving way to a finish that confirms the structure, fruit and tannins blending in exuberantly with intriguing hints of much more to come in the next decade." - Steven Spurrier, January 2020
"…it stands out this year in a more Rhône-like style with the soft, fleshy character of Cinsault taking the lead role. It is flamboyant and exuberant with a lovely balance of fine tannin and acidity which lifts the wine’s ripe, exotic flavour." – The Wine Society, May 2020