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Chateau Musar Red 2009

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Producer Information

It was in 1930 that Gaston Hochar, of Lebanon's Chateau Musar, planted his first vineyards, after returning from Bordeaux. Major Ronald Barton (of Chateau Langoa-Barton), who was stationed in Lebanon during World War II, befriended Gaston Hochar, strengthening links with Bordeaux and influencing the Musar style.

Gaston's first son, Serge, became Chateau Musars winemaker in 1959, while completing his winemaking studies at the University of Oenology in Bordeaux, under the tutorage of Jean Riberau and Emile Peynaud. 3 years later, Ronald Hochar (Gaston's second son) takes over the financial and marketing aspects of the winery.

It wasn't until 1977 that Serge Hochar finalised the formula for Chateau Musar Reds. 2 years later, Michael Broadbent discovers' Chateau Musar at the Bristol Wine Fair, hailing the 1967 vintage as the "Find of the Fair". Chateau Musar opens its UK Company to develop its sales into the UK market and thereafter into Europe.

In 1984, Decanter magazine nominates Serge Hochar as their first Man of the Year', recognising his dedication to producing superb wines throughout Lebanon's Civil War (1975-1990).

The family tradition continued in 1994 when Gaston Hochar, Serge's son joins the winery, to later become its managing director and again in 2003 when Ralph Hochar, Ronald's son joins the UK office in charge of sales in the on-trade.

2006 saw Chateau Musar obtains its first official, Organic certification for some of its vineyards.

Most recently in 2010, Serge Hochar receives the lifetime achievement award from the German magazine Der FeinSchmeker. Also Marc Hochar, Serge's second son, joins his brother Gaston to help run and expand the winery's activities.

The Chateau Musar's range of wines are this houses most famous range of wines. These are their Grands Vins', each with their unique signature and imprint in the world of wine. Since 1930, every aspect of production, grape sourcing, fermentation, oak-ageing and bottle maturation, has been trialled to achieve the ultimate expression of Musar's specific terroirs' (site-specific interactions of soil, vine, climate and time).

Organic from the outside, Chateau Musar's red vineyards are siruated towards the Southern end of the Bekka Valley, North of Lake Qaroun and about 30km South-East of Beirut. They lie near the villages of Aana and Kefraya on a range of gravelly soils over limestone “ ideally suited to viticulture. The wide range of soil types and aspects results in wines of distinctive character and blends of appealing complexity.

Grapes

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan

Production

2009 was a truly memorable year in the Bekaa Valley and a vintage of two halves – before and after the rain! This vintage will go down in history as the year of the two day September deluge – unprecedented since records began in 1870. Conditions until mid-September had been exemplary – no rain or snow fell for the first three months of the year but surprisingly the rain and snow came back at the end of March and gave the blossoming vines a much needed moisture boost – the soils were also in much need of this moisture after a couple of months of dryness. Low humidity in May, June and July promoted excellent vine health and the weeds that also thrived in these conditions were manually removed – this was our only hard work during this time. Sultry conditions at the end of the summer brought the harvest on quickly and the red grapes began arriving on the 2nd September, Cabernet Sauvignon followed by Carignan with Cinsault last on the 7th and 8th. With low PH and high acidity and sugar, the grapes held exceptional promise. After the September rain fall, the remaining red grapes were harvested and were juicier than usual, showing a full bodied structure and a very fragrant nose.

An equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan.

The Chateau Musar of 2009 is the traditional blend of approximately one third each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan. The blending took place 3 years later in 2012 and the wines spent a year in French Nevers oak barrels and released in the spring of 2016.

Tasting Notes

The Cabernet Sauvignon in particular flourished this year, from flowering to dominating the final structure and taste of the wine, this vintage has a deep scarlet colour and a nose of blackberries, Assam tea, dark chocolate and mulled berries. On the palate there are rich black and red fruits, especially blackcurrants, cherries, damsons and figs with warm cinnamon spice and a hint of mint. This vintage is also characterised by a smoky, earthiness. The tannins are well integrated, with good acidity and a long, dry finish.

Mid-crimson. Light, sweet start. For the moment it’s a little simple. Bright, ripe red fruit. Slightly burnt edge. Lots of tannins. Quite dry and youthful on the finish. Much longer bottle age needed. By far the most youthful wine in this vertical tasting - Jancis Robinson, March 2018

Musar only releases its grand vin when it’s ready to drink – there are violets and ripe red berry fruit from Cinsault; spice, liquorice and burly backbone from Carignan, blackcurrant, blackberry and silky elegance from Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s ready to drink, yes but there’s no rush - Jonathan Ray, The Spectator Magazine, April 2016

What our staff say

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