Founded in 1930 by Gaston Hochar, 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, noth of Lake Qaroun and about 30km south-east of Beirut. They lie near the villages of Aana and Kefraya on a range of gravelley soils over limestone: ideally suited to viticulture. Every wine is produced naturally with a “non-interventionist” wine making 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 2003 harvest was a unique experience and two words can aptly summarise it: Alcohol & Acidity – this vintage is rich in both. After a rainy winter (records show that it was the rainiest year in 15 years), from mid April onwards not a drop of rain fell and it became hot and sunny. In May when flowering started, a 10 day heat wave reduced the harvest quantity by about 30%. This phenomenon was responsible for the concentration of sugar and acidity in the grapes. July and August were not as hot as they used to be in years gone by and certainly not as hot as it was in Europe in 2003. The harvest started on the 4th September and the grapes were very healthy with good maturity and ripeness.
Deep ruby in colour, it has a complex, intriguing array of aromas: toasted bread, cigar box, fresh tea, plums and Eastern spices. On the palate, there are mature fruits: plums, figs and cherries with hints of tea leaves and dark chocolate. The wine is intense; the first taste releasing complex notes of currants, cherries and spice, with a hint of game and finishing with a cleansing acidity. Our first indications were that the 2003 vintage would be full-bodied, powerful with great length and 7 years later upon release in 2010, we were proven right: these are the defining characteristics of 2003.