Ch. Musar – Lebanese wine & dinner at The Bluebird

  Ch. Musar is probably THE wine of Lebanon. I can’t think of any others off the top of my head but if you mention it to wine folk, you’ll get nods of recognition and faraway looks even if they’ve never tried it. Ch. Musar situated in the Bekaa Valley, has survived numerous Middle Eastern upheavals, since it’s founding in 1930, always managing to put out a vintage except for the ’76 and ’84 vintgages when the vineyards were caught in a no-man’s land due to war. And even then, they tried as best they could to bring in the grapes. Penny at Bluebird has been busy organizing various events for the Wine Cellar at Bluebird there and a couple of weeks ago I attended the Ch. Musar dinner she’d organized. The dinner was held to launch Ch. Musar’s celebration of chief winemaker Serge Hochar’s 50th anniversary of winemaking. His son, Ralph, was on hand to walk us through the tasting with a surprise appearance by Serge at dinner. The evening kicked off with an informal winetasting in the wineshop before moving on to dinner in the loft of the Bluebird restaurant. Ch. Musar makes primarily red wines but we were treated to their 2003 Hochar Pere et Fils white, an aged wine made from merwah, which is a close relative of semillon. The wine is made to be drunk with a bit of age and isn’t put on the market until after a year after bottling. I quite enjoyed it, ripe baked apples, spicy gingerbread, brioche, complex nose with great acidity. This is a wine that still had plenty of life in it. Penny helpfully supplied canapes to nibble on whilst tasting. Ch. Musar reds are made from various blends of cabernet sauvignon, carignan, cinsault and grenache. The Chateau also believes in using as little intervention as possible, making wine in the traditional Bordeaux way, using  natural yeasts only and no fining. Serge believes that the “sediments are the best part of the wines,” and contribute much to the wine.  We sampled the...

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