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Created in 1930, in the cellar of an old XVIIIth century castle, Château Musar is as much the work of a family as the living testimony of all the civilizations that tread its soil.
After a long stay in France, Gaston Hochar returned to Lebanon and created Château Musar in the cellars of the old 'Mzar' castle in Ghazir, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. What began as a hobby soon became a passion; a passion inspired by an initial encounter with renowned viticulturist Ronald Barton while he was stationed in Lebanon during the Second World War.
The family's love for wine grew and in 1959, after completing his oenology diploma in Bordeaux, the eldest son, Serge, entered the business. Some call him the magician, the man behind this extraordinary wine. His response? That all he "seeks is to translate what nature intended."
In 1984, Decanter Magazine recognized Serge for his winemaking skill and courage, naming him the magazine's inaugural Man of the Year. Sadly after 55 vintages, Serge passed away suddenly at the age of 75 in December 2014.
2008 Château Musar White
60% Obaideh & 40% Merwah
Grown high in the mountains of Lebanon, the vines were less affected by the intense heat of the summer than the red grapes on the Bekaa Valley plain. The grapes, harvested at the usual time in mid October, were very ripe with good fruit concentration and good acidity and tannins. Fermented in French Nevers oak barrels for nine months, it was blended and bottled at the end of its first year and released six years later in 2007. This vintage, like all Musar whites, will have extraordinary aging potential.
Deep golden straw in colour; intense aromas of toasted brioche, almonds, apricots, baked apples, ripe pears, vanilla and honey. The palate is full with a buttery honeyed nutty texture. Its good acidity lends to the balance with the vanilla, butterscotch, apples and quince flavours. It is rich and mellow with a very long finish. It is a substantial wine!
2010 Château Musar Red
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cinsault & 20% Cariñena
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan grown in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. The 45+ year old vines produce a wine dark red in colour with brick edges. Good red fruits and some spice on the nose with a hint of leather and cedar, and a touch of volatile acidity. Ample bodied, round and warm in the mouth with supple tannins, ample fruit and leather finishing off in spicy notes.
Will benefit from aging probably well into its 20's.
Vintage now SOLD OUT. New vintage is 2006
2014 Jeune Red
50% Cinsault, 30% Syrah & 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Chateau Musar’s youthful ‘Jeune’ wines are made from the fruit of Bekaa Valley vines at around 1,000m above sea level. Altitude keeps the average temperature moderate at 25 degrees Celsius and with 300 days of sunshine a year, grapes are ripened to perfection. An unoaked blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2010 vintage has a rich nose of red fruits, cherries, cooked plums, black currants and blueberries with a hint of violets coming from the Syrah. These fruit characters follow through to the rich, warm palate which is also full of cinnamon, nutmeg and Christmas spices. This wine with its velvety soft tannins and long, warm finish is best enjoyed in its youth (in contrast to the Chateau Musar bottling, which is not released until its seventh year).
Perfect with roasted and grilled meats, spicy Mediterranean dishes, casseroles and mature hard cheeses. Enjoy straight from the bottle (no need to decant) and serve at room temperature.
2014 Jeune White
35% Viognier, 35% Vermentino & 30% Chardonnay
An unoaked blend of Viognier, Vermentino, and Chardonnay. Crisp, aromatic and vibrant, this eclectic blend of French and Mediterranean varieties has its own distinctive personality: scintillating flavours of passionfruit, apples, elderflowers, limes and apricots and a dry, refreshing finish. Served gently chilled, it’s the perfect choice for grilled fish, seafood, Lebanese ‘mezze’ and chicken tagines.
“Smoky and rich with a swirl of petrol, dried apple and smoked nut skin flavors on the nose and palate, this is a dry, full-bodied white blend that’s intentionally savory in style. Pleasantly pithy in the midpalate with hints of sun-dried hay and orange peel.”
2016 Jeune Rosé
This is a dry, deeply-coloured, serious Rosé, best enjoyed with food. Smooth and rounded, it has raspberry, almond and red appleskin aromas and a warm finish.
Made from 100% (the Rhône grape variety) Cinsault; from vines planted in 2000 and grown at around 1,000m above sea level in the Bekaa Valley. Musar Jeune Rosé is produced by the ‘saignée’ (‘bled’) method using pink juice removed from Cinsault grape must, fermented in cement-lined vats and released unoaked a year after the harvest.
No need to decant; enjoy chilled (12°C) with baked salmon, shellfish, roast pork or tomato-based pasta dishes.
Somelliers World's Top 15 Rosés - Conde Nast
L'Arack de Musar
Considered to be the traditional alcoholic drink of Lebanon. Variations of this anise based spirit can be found throughout the eastern Mediterranean under different guises. But, l'Arack de Musar is unique in its quality (four distillations) and limited availability.
The well-ripened naturally sustained white grapes are harvested late and allowed to ferment. Second, distillation of this must is carried out in copper Alambic pot stills at very low temperature to ensure only the alcohol is collected and no condensation of water. Then, aniseed is introduced into this first distillation and allowed to mellow for five to ten years before being reintroduced into a clean pot still and redistilled. Two more distillations take place to further purify the final Arack. And finally, it is matured for 12 to 24 months in terracotta amphoras (like those used by the Romans two thousand years ago).
The alcohol content is 53% by volume.