Chateau Musar from Lebanon. Yes you have heard right. What?! Lebanon? Sometimes some things are just meant to be. A series of events that were all timely, lead us to a wine tasting at Vintage Blue with the wine maker Ralph Hochar today.
In summary, I was introduced to Chateau Musar from my drinking buddy Grace. Her dad in the 1990s (who is a bit of a wine buff) took her to a Chateau Musar wine tasting in Edinburgh. More than 2 decades later during one of our regular drinking sessions at Sepia, Grace spotted the familiar name on the wine list. Since then a series of events has lead us to wine tasting with Ralph Hochar. The difference for Grace is that this time the wine maker is the son, a much more handsome looking man 😛
So what did I learn today?
- Not all Lebanese has olive skin? :O According to Grace some have fair hair and because of the proximity between east and west. Wow, no one told me that. That sounds exotic.
- Ralph had a French accent. :O Not exactly what I expected. Did you know that Lebanon was a French colony?
- Chateau Musar was started by Ralph’s grandfather around 1930. He was a Banker. Not a bad sea change. The original name was Mzar. It was changed to Chateau Musar as they want to appeal to the the French people.
- I tried 2 new white grape variety indigenous to Lebanon – Obeideh and Merwah. I don’t even know how to describe them. All I can say is that I love the 2001 vintage. It’s complex and is so unusual. Please be weary that different vintages can be so different. Australia wines tend to be more predictable (ie. once you’ve tried one vintage can you predict the base taste and style. A Chateau Musar can be like chalk and cheese (eg. 2004 smelt like honey and tasted totally different). Was told today by Vintage Blue that the 2001 tasted the same when it was first released 3 years ago. I’m used to drinking aged wine however never tasted a difference so massive. Will be interesting how this ages over time.
- Cinsalt – Need to explore this one a little more. It’s a red and besides Chateau Musar using it in their blend, I don’t believe I have tried it elsewhere.
- 1999 Chateau Musar RED – Will benefit from further aging. Don’t think it is at it’s prime drinking state yet. It’s sweeter than the 2001.
- 2001 Chateau Musar RED – This is a drink now wine. Ralph said it can be aged however only 1-2 years. To me it’s drinking really well already. Feminine and floral with raspberry notes.
- 2001 Chateau Musar White – hard to describe. Complex and unusual.
If you have never heard of Chateau Musar and am looking for something different? Something interesting? It’s definitely worth a look. Speak to someone from UK. It appears to be quite famous there. The cheaper range (around 25-$35 aud) is worth looking at as it is very easy to drink. A good wine for the barbie.
For more information I found this interesting article in the UK telegraph.