2014 Chateau Musar Rouge
Chateau Musar was founded in 1930 by Gaston Hochar. In 1959, after studying oenology at the University of Bordeaux his son Serge became winemaker. The civil war that tore Lebanon apart from 1975-1990 did not defeat Chateau Musar. Serge refused to abandon the wine, and lost only the ’76 vintage to the war. Chateau Musar is one of the most written about wines in the world today.
A guide to the style
In their youth, Chateau Musar Reds are dense and richly-textured, with intense ‘baked fruit’ characters: plums, damsons, cranberries, cherries, figs and dates. Bordeaux grape Cabernet Sauvignon lends black fruit flavors; Rhône grapes Cinsault and Carignan contribute fragrance (violets; pepper) and supple spiciness. Either set of qualities might dominate a particular vintage, but the style is always emphatically Lebanese: enticingly aromatic, with persistent fruit flavors. Over decades the wines acquire tawny hues and mellow notes. Wines from the 1950s are still offered: mesmerizing artifacts of vintage.
A year for the history books, where the mountains of Lebanon failed to turn white with snow.
Very low rainfall during October and November 2013, where precipitation did not exceed 18mm. This trend continued into the New Year – no rain, snow or cold weather and only two stormy days affecting no more than 20% of the country! February and March were the driest and it seems as if this winter was an extension of summer 2013. April, May, June and July, where buds open and flowering occurs was perfect for the vines, but with one very important element missing for summer survival - water. By early August, the vines were starting to suffer badly. Sugar content in Cabernet Sauvignon rose drastically while acidity was stable. The varietal lost 40% of its weight due to lack of moisture and the hard work started on the first day of the red grape harvest - four teams harvesting simultaneously for the first time in Chateau Musar history. Carignan was also affected but not to the same degree, while the survivor of them all was, as usual, the Cinsault.
Each varietal was fermented with natural yeasts in concrete vats. Due to the high sugar content, Cabernet Sauvignon was very slow to start, and fermentation was controlled at a lower temperature than usual to ensure its completion. Carignan was also very slow, however Cinsault survived the crisis and fermented normally with elegance and style. The wines were aged for 12 months in French oak barrels before blending in January 2017 and then bottled without fining or filtration in July and August 2017. The bottles are aged in the Chateau Musar cellars before their release in 2021.
A deep red colour, with aromas of sweet cherry, plum and dried fruit together with a subtle spice element and hint of tobacco. The wine has a soft, rounded mouthfeel with lots of flavour and fruit concentration – caramel, mocha, ripe red fruits which are supported with soft, velvety tannins and a spicy finish.Lebanon, Bekaa Valley
Lebanon, Bekaa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault
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Bottles are in perfect condition.