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Château Musar 1999


Chateau Musar 1999 is a brilliant, deep red with a nose full of red and black fruits - cherries and cassis - with nuances of vanilla and chocolate. This follows through to the palate which is rich, well balanced and powerful. Mellow spices are evident in the beginning, mature red fruits surround very smooth tannins and a hint of orange is apparent on the very long finish.

 Tab 1

Country: Lebanon
Region: Bekaa Valley
Vintage: 1999
Colour: Red
Grape Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan/Mazuelo
ABV: 14%
Bottle Size: 75cl
Closure: Natural cork
Style: Rich and spicy
Vegetarian: Yes (not certified)
Vegan: Yes (not certified)
Organic: Yes (certified)
Drink With: Roast loin of venison

1999 was an exceptional year for Château Musar. A mild winter with very little rainfall was followed by usual spring weather. The summer was also mild, with a cloudy July and August preceding a hot and sunny September. The grapes reached maximum maturity with great all round concentration, displaying good acidity and a high sugar level.

The Musar reds are made from three grape varieties, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, all of which are grown around three wine villages, Ammiq, Aana and Kefraya, made even more complicated by the diversity of soils ranging from rich to rocky which, when combined with annual vintage variations, necessitate the sort of juggling act at which Serge Hochar is a supreme performer.

Tasting the component parts of the 1999 vintage of Château Musar, first was a single vineyard Cinsault from Aana - rich soil, yield restricted to 25hl/ha: lovely deep velvety colour, an appealing aroma reminiscent of a wine from sun-baked Provence; sweet, wonderful richness and flesh, delicious flavour. Next, a Carignan also from Aana but on lighter soil: deep, velvety, a scented aroma reminding one of Corbières. And third a Cabernet Sauvignon, grown on rocky soil in Kefraya: again, a very deep velvety appearance; marvellous fruit, sweet, with a good crisp flavour, excellent tannin and acidity, with a finish of violets and blackcurrants.

Fermentation took place in cement vats with maceration periods of up to four weeks, and then the wine was aged for one year in French Nevers oak. It was blended at the end of its second year (August 2001) and bottled in the summer of 2002.

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