2003 Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

2003 Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Product: 20038011941
2003 Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Description

Musar is one of the legends of the wine world, and unknown outside Lebanon until ‘discovered’ in the 1970s. Founded by Gaston Hochar in 1930 and brought to prominence by his son Serge, the wine was made for many years in the middle of a war zone. The wine can last for decades, but the indomitable Serge passed away at the end of 2014.

Wild, funky, spicy and succulent. Bright and intense despite a decade of age, the Cabernet Sauvignon gives structure but does not dominate. Earthy, blueberry notes come from Carignan and Cinsault. The 2003 vintage is even more sumptuous than usual. Drink now to 2035. This suits rich, steeped food. Think cassoulet, duck confit, or a spicier lamb tagine. Definitely decant, probably two hours in advance.
Mark Pardoe MW, Wine Director
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About this WINE

Chateau Musar

Chateau Musar

Château Musar was established by Gaston Hochar in 1930 and is without doubt Lebanon's top wine estate. Few properties have consistently produced such high quality wines in the face of adversity and war, and it is a testament to the sheer will and determination of the Hochars that wine has been produced every single year, bar 1976 and 1984.

The property is located in Ghazir, 15 miles north of Beirut overlooking the Mediterranean, whereas the vineyards themselves are located a long and sometimes dangerous truck journey over the mountains to the east of Beirut in the Beqaa (aka Bekaa) Valley. The vineyards benefit from an altitude of around 1000 metres and the subsequent cool nights serve to lengthen the crucial ripening process.

The red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault. Serge Hochar, who has been involved with the property since 1959, states that the Cabernet Sauvignon provides "the bones and the skeleton to the wine, the Carignan the flesh and muscle and the Cinsault the silky smooth finesse".

Musar wines are unique in that Hochar blends the varietals only after they have spent three years in barrels and then waits a further four years before releasing the end result. This gives time for each variety to unfold its own character. The wines are extremely long-lived, with the best examples lasting for 20-30 years.

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Beqaa Valley

Beqaa Valley

Beqaa (Bekaa) Valley is the wine powerhouse of Lebanon, where all the major wineries have their vineyards, including Chateau Ksara (Lebanon’s largest winery with over 60% of the country's production), Château Kefraya, Cave Kouroum, Château Musar and thetrendy boutique winery of Château Massaya.

Vines in Beqaa Valley are grown at a high altitude of around 1,000m, and hence they can benefit from a unique micro-climate of dry summers, cool nights, and abundant rainfall. Harvest is typically in the middle of September (much later than other southern Mediterranean vineyards).

French influences on the wines of Beqaa (and Lebanon in general) are evident in the make-up of the vineyard; included are Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah, Carignan.

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Other Varieties

Other Varieties

There are over 200 different grape varieties used in modern wine making (from a total of over 1000). Most lesser known blends and varieties are traditional to specific parts of the world.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

The Wine Advocate91/100
Parker91/100

Critic reviews

The Wine Advocate91/100
The 2003 Chateau Musar seems very different than years such as 1981, but maybe thats just because it is so young, or possibly because of the vintage or an increasing nod to modernity. Either way, this is a ripe, sexy Musar. It retains its elegant mid-palate as well as lovely fruit and fine balance. There is a slightly sweet tinge to the finish, perhaps a touch of a high-toned demeanor. The lush texture and surprising richness make this a rather luscious wine by Musar standards. It is showing little but baby fat right now. Fresh and youthful, it is just a friendly puppy today. Im not so sure it is in the winerys preferred style, but it should be a very enjoyable vintage for consumers. Showing not a trace of age, it has a lot of potential and a long life ahead. It may yet be entitled to further upticks in score, but lets be a bit conservative at the moment. Drink now-2035.
Mark Squires - 28/06/2013 Read more
Parker91/100
The 2003 Chateau Musar seems very different than years such as 1981, but maybe that’s just because it is so young, or possibly because of the vintage or an increasing nod to modernity. Either way, this is a ripe, sexy Musar. It retains its elegant mid-palate as well as lovely fruit and fine balance. There is a slightly sweet tinge to the finish, perhaps a touch of a high-toned demeanor.

The lush texture and surprising richness make this a rather luscious wine by Musar standards. It is showing little but baby fat right now. Fresh and youthful, it is just a friendly puppy today. I’m not so sure it is in the winery’s preferred style, but it should be a very enjoyable vintage for consumers. Showing not a trace of age, it has a lot of potential and a long life ahead. It may yet be entitled to further upticks in score, but let’s be a bit conservative at the moment. Drink now-2035.
Mark Squires  - erobertparker.com # 207 - June 2013 Read more