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Château Musar 2001


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Chateau Musar 2001 is scarlet in colour with terracotta tones at the rim, it has a complex nose of cigar box spice, warm leather, baked fruits, ripe morello cherries and blackcurrants. The palate has intense flavours of red cherries, dark chocolate, olives, figs and velvet smooth tannins on the very long finish.

Country: Lebanon
Region: Bekaa Valley
Vintage: 2001
Colour: Red
Grape Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan/Mazuelo
ABV: 13.5%
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

2001 was a most unusual year for Musar. Although it began normally with some quite rainy and cold days, by mid February the climate changed to much warmer weather with almost no rain or snow at all. From March until August there was only 23mm of precipitation - therefore the total for the year was dramatically less than normal and the water table was significantly lowered. After a regular flowering in the spring, July and August were exceptionally hot. This was the fourth year in a row of very little rainfall causing the vines to tire.

Musar's Cinsault vines were the most affected, especially those grown on limestone soils. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan grapes, with their thicker, firmer skins were better protected from the sun and showed excellent concentration. The Cinsault was still fragrant and fruity but lost some of its colour; the Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan were, however, rich, powerful and fruity with smoky, leathery aromas and deep violet colour.

The harvest began on the 3rd September - one of the earliest start dates on record. The overall crop was reduced by 15% but the grapes were healthy and ripe, not overly tannic or acidic. Fermentation progressed steadily and the malolactic followed easily and naturally as it did in 2000. This vintage is marked by the domination of the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Carignan over the Cinsault. The Château Musar 2001 was fermented in cement vats, aged in French Nevers oak barrels for one year and bottled in the summer of 2004.

From Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
Nuanced by cherries and spice, it is quite delicious...The ’00 is the powerhouse bruiser, the most rustic, while the Hochar is the approachable, easier wine. This is the one in the middle, arguably the best balance of fruit and power. On the downside, this is as gamey and funky as the 2000, but the balance is different, the wine seeming fruitier and fleshier, not quite as austere. Depending on your taste, you may find that a good thing, or prefer the more powerful and intellectual 2000. This is still powerful, I hasten to add, with drying notes on the finish, but the fruitiness melds beautifully with the barnyard notes, and it is nicely supported by the tannin rather than overwhelmed. As with the 2000, this should age well, although the 2000 should age longer, and this will be a wine some will love, and some will find has too much barnyard. Personally, I enjoyed it a lot, and was just imagining how it would work with venison. Drink now-2020. 91 Points

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