Chateau Musar, Rouge, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 2000
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).
When tasted in early November 1999, the wines were tannic, concentrated and powerful, but very well balanced. Now at 20 years after the vintage, the 2000 holds on to its primary fruit whilst really starting to reveal the classic Musar identity, balancing out the characteristic sweet spice and desiccated fruit notes with more evolved elements of leather, tar, tobacco and a hint of game. These complex aromas and flavors are lifted with a fresh lick of acidity that will ensure the wine will continue to age gracefully for years to come.
The varietal components in Chateau Musar Red undergo lengthy fermentations in cement vats at temperatures below 30°C. Six months after the harvest they are transferred into French barrels (oak from the forest of Nevers) for one year. The varietal components are brought together two years after the harvest; the resulting blend is then placed back in cement tanks before being bottled 12 months later. Each wine is blended to reflect the character of the vintage. After 4 years of bottle maturation in the deep stone cellars of Chateau Musar, the finished wines are released a full seven years after the harvest.
Bottled unfined and unfiltered, Chateau Musar Reds are suitable for vegans; 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 standing up the night before opening to allow the sediment to settle. 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.
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