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.
2007 was a most unusual year and followed unusual patterns. The winter was quite normal until the 25th January when snow suddenly stopped falling on the high mountains. The temperature continued to increase until mid-March and then another winter arrived with more snow falling until the beginning of April. Flowering had started in April for some grape varieties and then on the 20th April, we experienced a sudden frost which damaged some young leaves. May in the Bekaa Valley is typically sunny and fresh but this year, it was cloudy and rainy for about 20 days and the flowering season reached a critical stage – 30% of the flowering didn’t happen and so unfortunately, we began our vine life cycle with a smaller harvest. A heat wave struck at the beginning of August which lasted for 3 weeks – adding yet a further unpredictable dimension to the harvest this year and the actual harvest of our red grapes ended up as a race!
2007 was a good year for the Cinsault which displayed red berry and concentrated cherry fruits, reminiscent of Amarone. As the Cabernet Sauvignon rested in vats, it showed intense coffee bean aromas and ripe fruit, typical of a warmer vintage. Nearly 7 years on, upon its’ release in the spring of 2014, the wine was showing impressive aromas of blueberries, ripe blackberries, cherries and plum fruitcake. The palate is initially soft and round with primary fruits of blackberry, plum, red cherries and pomegranate with some chocolatey spicy notes in the background. It opens up with mouth filling berry fruit and delicious notes of concentrated dark fruits and molasses. It really begins to impress in the mid palate where it holds its’ intensity and structure effortlessly all the way to the end. The alcohol is well integrated with elegant but youthful tannins – it is a well-balanced wine with good underpinning acidity and a compelling structure.