One of the benefits of being in WSET Level 3 is the wines I get to taste each week. A standout and eye-opener I had on Tuesday was a 2000 Chateau Musar Red.
The wines of Chateau Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture, as vines have been cultivated from Lebanon’s high altitude Bekaa Valley for over 6,000 years. Chateau Musar’s red vineyards are situated towards the southern end of the Bekaa Valley, north of Lake Qaroun and about 30 km southeast of Beirut. They lie near the villages of Aana and Kefraya on a range of gravelly soils over limestone. Every wine of Chateau Musar is produced naturally with a ‘non-interventionist’ winemaking philosophy and the winery was the first in Lebanon to implement organically certified viticulture in 2006 for its Chateau Musar Red and white grapes.
The 2000 vintage of Chateau Musar is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, and Carignan, approximately 1/3rd of each. Fermented in cement vats and then aged for one year in French nevers oak barriques. It was blended and bottled at the end of the third year following the harvest and aged for a further 3 to 4 years in the cellars of Chateau Musar at Ghazir before its release in May 2007.
The color is a clear medium garnet. The nose is a complex intriguing mix of figs, prunes, black olives, dried flowers, baked fruit, baking spice, leather, dark tea, tobacco, mushroom, and forest floor. On the palate, you will find ripe black cherries, figs, olives, baked fruit and a certain earthiness. There is good acidity with smooth tannins resulting in a wine which is full-bodied, rich and silky with a medium length finish. It is an outstanding wine to drink now. Not suitable for further aging as it is already fully developed.
If you can get your hands on any vintage of a bottle of Chateau Musar, DO IT.