Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Ammiq, Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years): 35hl per hectare.
In youth, Chateau Musar Reds are dense and richly-textured, with intense ‘baked fruit’ characteristics. Bordeaux grape Cabernet Sauvignon lends black fruit flavours. Either set of qualities might dominate a particular vintage, but the style is always emphatically Lebanese: enticingly aromatic, with persistent fruit flavours. Over decades the wines acquire tawny hues and mellow notes.
The Hochar family’s philosophy of respect for the environment means that the 180 hectares of Musar vineyards are managed with minimal human interference and all the wines are made as naturally.
Chateau Musar was the first producer in Lebanon to achieve organic certification for its vineyards. Most are located in the Bekaa Valley, cradled between two mountain ranges running parallel to Lebanon’s Mediterranean coastline. Vines have been cultivated here for at least 6,000 years: the Phoenicians (seafaring ancestors of the modern Lebanese) were instrumental in bringing vines and wines from Byblos across to all of the areas around the Mediterranean.
Flanked by snow-covered mountains, and nestled at 1000m (3,000 feet) above sea level, the serenely beautiful Bekaa Valley is blessed with 300 days of sunshine a year, fresh mountain breezes and an average temperature of 25°C (encompassing snowy winters and hot summers). Remote and unspoilt, the Musar vineyards were ‘organic’ by default before the term was coined.
All the grapes are hand-harvested by local Bedouins between August and October.
In the winery, ambient yeasts do the work of fermentation. The bare minimum of sulphur is used and the Chateau Musar wines are neither fined nor filtered.
The Chateau Musar tasting with Mr Ralph Hochar held at our cellars in November 2009 was a great success and something we are repeating on Wednesday October 5th 2011
The colour is a deep dark red, perhaps darker than usual at Chateau Musar. The nose is a complex, intriguing mixture of figs, prunes, leather, dark tea, tobacco, black olives with spices and a certain earthiness.
On the palate, you will find ripe black cherries, figs, damsons - even chocolate and olives. There is good acidity with nice smooth tannins resulting in a wine which is full-bodied, rich and velvety, with very good length.
In summary we feel that the 2000 vintage is a serious wine with serious ageing potential, but with a very approachable and open style which makes it perfect for drinking now as well as for cellaring. Perhaps more Bordeaux like in character than in previous vintages.
“Closer to a fine Bordeaux but it will age gratifyingly well for a very long time. And you can drink it with pleasure now: all that soft, velvety, peppery, spicy, earthy, even chocolatey quality is already there in spades.” Simon Hoggart – The Spectator February 2007
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As a rough guide most standard (75CL) single bottles weigh 2KG and a case (12 x 75CL bottles) weighs 24KG.
In Bond storage is facilitated at Octavian in Wiltshire, the U.K's premier wine storage facility. The conditions at this old munitions base, 100 metres below ground are unrivalled, offering temperature control, In Bond facility and full replacement value insurance. The wines are stored under each client's individual "Protection Plus" account number, fully labelled and can only be released or moved with his or her written instructions. No right of lien can be exercised over wines held on each client's behalf. Client's stock can be inspected, by arrangement, at any time excluding November & December.
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Items can be ordered In Bond for transfer to clients own bonded storage accounts. We are able to action this process for a single consignment charge of £10 ex VAT, this covers any quantity.