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Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Lebanon 2015 £34.75
Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Lebanon 2015
One of the most challenging vintages in a generation. A good start to the year with plenty of rain and snow, then temperatures rising toward the end of March, however between 10th and 18th April, night-time temperatures fell to between -8°C and -12°C which destroyed buds that had started to open. By early May, Musar were looking out on hectares of blackened vines and the situation looked catastrophic but, gradually, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, green shoots emerged from the stems of the vines. A humid June and mild July were followed by rising temperatures throughout August and a heatwave into September which resulted in further losses in the vineyards by the time it came to harvest. Cabernet Sauvignon was picked on 3rd September with 65% losses to the crop; Cinsault started on the 8th of September with losses of 70% in the vineyards of Aana and 40% in the vineyards of Kefraya. Finally, Carignan picked on 11th September which was 50% down.
An equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan
Each varietal was fermented with natural yeasts in concrete vats, then aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. The wine was blended in January 2018 and bottled in July/August of that year.
Deep ruby colour and an aroma of fresh hedgerow berries - bramble, blackcurrant and cherry, also more complexity coming through later with leather and delicate, peppery-spice notes. The flavours are similar, with some soft vanilla, warming spice and a cocoa note. Fresh acidity and supple tannins make the wine a perfect accompaniment to richer, fattier meats like duck or a ribeye steak.
It’s a beauty of course, a blend as of yore of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault. It was a fiendishly tricky vintage with frost in April and a heatwave in September, threatening local disaster. Indeed some 65% of Cab. Sauvignon was lost. What little wine that was made though, is glorious
Jonathan Ray, The Spectator, July 2021