2016 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.
About 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.
Overview [From the Winery]
Our expectations for the 2016 harvest were obviously influenced by our thoughts of the adverse weather we experienced in 2015 but we did have a positive start in December 2015, the month providing 130mm of rainfall. This was followed by 360mm in January accompanied by a good deal of snow, providing the soils with much needed moisture and nutrients. February and March proved cold and rainy with a further 300mm of rainfall which was hugely welcomed by the dry terrain. April was warm with an average night temperature of plus 5 degrees Celsius rather than the minus 5 of the year before. May arrived with 45mm of rain, enough to boost the vines and from then on, we began to have higher expectations for this year’s harvest. A sunny June followed with low humidity and in July, we enjoyed an average temperature of 34 degrees throughout the month. This was key in pushing the harvest towards early maturation, faster than any previous year! Cabernet Sauvignon was the first to be harvested on 16th August from silty soils encouraging early ripening. Cinsault followed on the 2nd September with Carignan on the 7th.
Deep ruby in color with high viscosity. Red cherries, plums, carob and figs dominate the nose with a hint of eastern spice. Kirsch and plums follow through to the palate with blackcurrant and chocolate. The tannins are velvety soft and this wine has a lot of depth and fruit concentration with a long finish.
Lebanon, Bekaa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault
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