Chateau Musar Tasting Notes

TASTED DURING LOCKDOWN!

4th July 2020 (Phase 2 of easing of lockdown restrictions!)

Chateau Musar 1991

  • Crumbly cork and some ullage- very pale garnet.
  • Light perfume, spice, fig and prune, caramelised raspberries and clove.
  • Mid weight amd mature, soft ripe tannins, high acidity and lots of crunchy red berries with raisin notes. Needs decanter time to open out. Perhaps a little faded but down to bottle variation and very drinkable and I look forward to trying others from this case

Drank with a medium rare Aberdeen Angus sirloin with chimichurri sauce followed by Manchego and Iberico cheeses.

12th June 2020

Chateau Musar 1983

Scotland was in phase 1 of easing of lockdown and our favourite local Turkish restaurant  Rendezvous at Nargile started to do takeaways which seemed like a great excuse to open a bottle of 1983 Chateau Musar!

  • Pale to medium garnet in colour with a wide tawny rim
  • Ripe and complex aromas of dark berries, dried cranberry, spice, plum, black cherry, date and tobacco.
  • 1983 was late picked, vibrant ripe dark berries. Rich, concentrated and full bodied with finely tuned acidity. Bramble, liquorice, dark chocolate, prunes and smoky notes. Still youthful traits, a long finish and lots of  life left.

29th April 2020

Chateau Musar 1985

I was one of around 1200 people who tuned in to a virtual Wine Society tasting hosted by Gaston Hochar. It's thought that around 600 bottles of Chateau Musar were opened that evening. We opened this bottle of 1985 to enjoy with his presentation. 1985 was one of the smallest vintages of the 1980's so there isn't too much of it around.

  • Very pale, garnet with wide tawny rim
  • Intense and complex aromatics-sweet spices, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, fresh raspberry, dried fig, tealeaf, cigar box and tobaccowith coffee and toffee after a while.
  • Full bodied and concentrated, smooth with ripe tannins, balanced acidity. Dried fruit, raspberry, savoury edge, liquorice. Long lasting with plenty of life left. Excellent.

12th April 2020

Chateau Musar 1987

Chose this to enjoy with our Easter Sunday roast lamb, lovely match!

  • Pale garnet heading towards tawny
  • Intense and complex perfume, dried figs and prunes, liquorice, red berries and warm spices-cinnamon, clove and cedar
  • Full bodied and rich, smooth tannins, vibrant fruit and a lovely lift of acidity, blueberry, raspebrry and raisin. Blackcurrant and oak. Complex with long finish and plenty of life left.

TASTING MARCH 2020

Once again, it was a pleasure to welcome Elliot O'Mara from Chateau Musar UK to Aberdeen for our Chateau Musar Masterclass. Elliot gave tasters a great insight in to this iconic Lebanese producer as we tasted through a range of vintages defined by the climate of the year and the stage of maturity.

These are my tasting notes from 12th March 2020

1. Chateau Musar ‘Hochar’ 2015, 13.5%

Four years in the making, Hochar Père et Fils Red is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon, from a single vineyard near the Bekaa Valley village of Aana, characterised by deep soils over limestone. 

-Dark cherry, berry, spice and raspberry

- Full bodied, fresh and lively, raisin, spice, dark fruit, soft, smooth tannins

  1. Chateau Musar 2013, 14%

Equal blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Fragrant, ripe, spice, dark chocolate, dried fig
  • Full bodied and fruity, zing of acidity, cherry and raisin.
  1. Chateau Musar 2012, 14.5 %

Equal blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon from a very hot summer which lead to lower yield.

  • Dried fruit, spice, fresh raspberry and cinnamon, tobacco
  • Richness, prunes vibrant acidity, structured tannins and fresh raspberry and red cherry.
  1. Chateau Musar 2002,14%

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan

  • Ripe bramble, pepper, clove and spice, cedar, mocha tones
  • Smooth with refreshing acidity and integrated tannins, dark berry compote and smoky notes.
  1. Chateau Musar 1995, 14%

Equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan.

  • Pale garnet colour with earthy, almost barnyard notes and youthfulness of dark berry compote and dark cherry jam
  • ripe and midweight with good acidity, raspberry, red cherry, coffee, well balanced and elegant with a long finish
  1. Chateau Musar 1988, 14%
  • Savoury with toasty oak and spice, dark berries
  • zip of acidity. Smooth, still structured and still youthful. Curry spice scents, cedar. Plenty of life left
  1. Chateau Musar 1980, 14%
  • Tawny colour, fragrant spices, liquorice
  • Blackberry and blackcurrant. Ripe tannins with structure, freshness of acidity and lingering finish.
  1. Chateau Musar 1974, 14.5%
  • Released in 2011 and bought at the winery in Ghazir.
  • Mushroom, spice and dried fruit
  • Full bodied, soft and forward with spice notes, very mature, almost tawny port like taste with dried fruit, very delicate and very long finish.

 

TASTING MARCH 2018

(From my feature in the Press and Journal on 14th April 2018)

I’ve mentioned the iconic Lebanese producer Chateau Musar in this column before and I recently hosted a vertical tasting masterclass of their wines alongside Elliot O’Mara from Chateau Musar UK who gave us a great insight into the past and present of the producer. We delved into a back catalogue of vintages as far back as 1969 and as usual the ever evolving wines impressed and delighted a room full of Chateau Musar fans.

It is a wine capable of long aging and each taster had their personal favourite vintages. For me the 1997 with intense fruit, cedar, wood smoke and spice aromas, full body, structure, dark berries and a lingering resilience lifted by a fresh acidity was a superstar. Then the 2000 was complex - spicy, and smooth and long lasting and what about the warm spices and fig and raisin characters of the structured 2006 – decisions, decisions….

Elliot also treated us to the recently released Chateau Musar 2011, a typical third of each blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan. It’s perfumed with hints of mint and forward raspberry and blueberry. Full and structured with spice and blueberry notes and tuned acidity, I can’t wait to see how this evolves in 10, 20 and even 30 years’ time. Available from independents such as Wine Raks in Aberdeen and Raeburn Fine Wines in Edinburgh

TASTING SEPTEMBER 2010

What a fantastic night with a passionate and information packed presentation from Ralph Hochar. It’s so difficult to pick a favourite as each wine has a time, a place and a food where it will shine. If you push me – perhaps the 1982 which seems so youthful still, but ask me again tomorrow and it could be the 1986!

Hopefully my notes will guide you to your desert island Chateau Musar....

  • Chateau Musar Red 2000

Forward and potent raspberry crumble, fig and warm spice aromas. Full bodied with liquorice, rich fruit cake, clove and cinnamon flavours. Good tannic structure, fresh acidity, very well balanced with a long life ahead of it.  From a hot year hence a powerful vintage.

  • Chateau Musar  Red 1998

Sweet perfumed with spices- cinnamon and clove, a mix of raisin and blueberry. Medium- full bodied with fig and dried fruit, soft and well rounded with forward juicy flavours. Elegant and fragrant, an earlier drinking style than the 2000, higher % than usual of cinsault.

  • Chateau Musar Red 1996

Open with fresh red berries and earthy undertones. Rich fruit cake. Med- full bodied, a more savoury style with oak to the back. Noticeable acidity and a fresh mix of berries and dark chocolate. A now hard to find vintage

  • Chateau Musar Red 1993

Rich with fruit and nut cake, meat, leather, Indian spices, tobacco, cigar box. Mid weight and subtle. Well balanced, rich with a smooth finish.

  • Chateau Musar Red 1989

Intense, earthy, warmed dried fruit compote, spicy. Fresh acidity. Intense flavour with  ripe tannins and lingering,soft finish

  • Chateau Musar Red 1986

Powerful, dried fruit, minerality, warm Christmas spices and very ripe dark dark berries, marzipan. In the mouth, warm, well balanced, smooth with flavours as per nose. A drought year, hot summer has produced a classic, mellow style.

  • Chateau Musar  Red 1982

Aromatic and spiced, hints mint and coffee, fresh tobacco, enticing. Full bodied, rich and fresh ripe red fruit, pepper hints  and totaly intergrated tannin. Well balanced, silky and lingering with plenty of life left.

  • Chateau Musar Red 1977

Top notes of fig and Christmas spices, earthy, rhubarb notes, flinty.

Powerful, floral with baked fruit. Very rich almost chewy texture, dark chocolate full bodied, elegant structure. Well balanced with fresh acidity.

  • Chateau Musar Red 1969

Very intense, savoury maturity. Full bodied, smooth texture, hints of truffles, black olives and pepper. Great balance of dried fruits and acidity. Still can mature on!

  • Chateau Musar White 2004

Savoury, almond nutty, waxy lemon.

Dry and full bodied with marzipan and citrus, complex and intriguing.

  • Chateau Musar White 1997

Golden, honeyed with notes sweet almond, spice and  jasmine. Rich, dry, honey and apricot, soft acidity, well balanced and complex.

 

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