The Chateau Musar of 2006 is the traditional blend of approximately one third each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan. The blending took place 3 years later in 2009 and the wines spent a year in French Nevers oak barrels. The release date of this vintage did not happen as planned.
The policy of Chateau Musar is to release Chateau reds and whites when they are ready for drinking normanally after 7 years after the harvest.
In 2013 the wine was far from ready and needed more time. It was decided to postpone the release for another year, then another, then another when the decision was made to release in the spring of 2017
Grapes and vines
Eleven years in the making, Chateau Musar Red is a 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 bushvines (average age: 40 years): 35hl per hectare.
The varietal components in Chateau Musar Red undergo lengthy fermentations in cement vats at temperatures below 30°C. 6 months after the harvest they are transferred into French barrels (oak from the forest of Nevers) for one year.
An astonishing year . The winter was cold as has happened in the past, snow covered the Bekaa Valleyfor more than two weeks leaving the soil untouched for 45 days due to the resulting mud.When spring arrived it never ended. In all of the summer there was only 10 days of the usual summer climate with a maximium temperature of 30 degrees in the day and 22 degrees at night,.unbelievable to witness - as if it was a year from the 1950s when the climate was cooler, the winds more gentle and when nature was balanced ecologically.
Over decades the wines acquire tawny hues and mellow notes. We still offer wines from the 1950s: mesmerising artefacts of vintage.
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.
This wine is the ‘Grands Vins’, each with their unique signature and imprint in the world of wine. Since 1930, every aspect of production – grape sourcing, fermentation, oak-ageing and bottle maturation – has been trialed to achieve the ultimate expression of Musar’s specific ‘terroirs’ (site-specific interactions of soil, vine, climate and time).
A guide to the style
In 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 flavours; 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 flavours.
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.
Decanting and serving
Bottled unfined and unfiltered, Chateau Musar Reds are suitable for vegans (fining agents often contain animal proteins); they’re also richly-textured and likely to ‘throw a crust’. This is a common feature of most fine wines and is especially true of Musar Red vintages over a decade old. Ideally, bottles should be stood up the night before opening to settle any sediment. After careful decanting (and discarding of sediment, usually in the last centimetre of the bottle) the wine should be allowed to breathe for several hours and served at 18°C with roasts, grills (especially lamb), casseroles, game, and mature cheeses.
Released in the spring of 2017, a beautiful deep ruby hue with lots of almost confected cherry, blackcurrant and cranberries on the nose with a hint of liquorice.the has an explosion of brambly and hedgerow fruits with blueberries and cherries, this is a mid weight vintage with excellent acidity and fine tannins
To keep the wines showing at their best, bottles must be cellared in darkness, lying on their sides and not subjected to unnecessary movement or fluctuations in temperature.