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 vintage we experienced in 2004 only happens on average once in every decade. The winter in Lebanon was fairly consistent with previous years with snow until March, spring until June followed by a very mild and gentle summer. Fresh, cool air dominated the summer months which allowed the grapes to mature slowly and steadily. At the very beginning of the 2004 harvest and for two weeks, the grapes had low sugar content with medium acidity. Then suddenly a one week heat-wave changed everything – high sugar content grapes, but again with medium acidity, began to arrive at the winery.
This interesting and important experience was like a case study for us, almost as if we were having two different harvests in the same year. The wines from the first two weeks of the harvest were fruity and mellow with floral aromas from the Cinsault and Carignan. The Cabernet Sauvignon was more powerful, intense and concentrated with mature black and red fruits, leather and spices. Two weeks later the Cinsault and Carignan developed more of a red fruit character, the overall palate became more velvety with smooth integrated tannins. The wines spent 9 months in cement vats and then a year in French nevers oak barrels and the final blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan rested for another 9 months in vats before being bottled and transferred to the Chateau Musar cellars high in the mountains at Ghazir to begin its journey of maturation and development.
“Chateau Musar Red 2004 has all the musky, spicy, leathery depth this wine is famous for but it also has a kind of airy lightness too which makes it a beguiling drink”. Simon Hoggart – The Spectator Magazine March 2011.
A deep burgundy colour with a nose of mature fruits, plums, cherries, figs, cinnamon and cloves. The aromas follow through to a palate full of rich black and red fruits – plums and damsons dominate with pomegranate, baked cherries and Christmas spices. An intensely concentrated powerful vintage with fine smooth tannins and a spicy, warming finish.
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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.