Chateau Musar 2007
The Hochar family’s philosophy of respect for the environment means that the 180 hectares of Musar vineyards are managed with minimal human interference and all the wines are made naturally. Chateau Musar was the first producer in Lebanon to achieve organic certification for its vineyards in 2006.
2007 was a most unusual year and followed unusual patterns. The winter was quite normal until the 25th January when snow suddenly stopped falling on the high mountains. The temperature continued to increase until mid-March and then another winter arrived with more snow falling until the beginning of April. Flowering had started in April for some grape varieties and then on the 20th April, we experienced a sudden frost which damaged some young leaves. May in the Bekaa Valley is typically sunny and fresh but this year, it was cloudy and rainy for about 20 days and the flowering season reached a critical stage – 30% of the flowering didn’t happen and so unfortunately we began our vine life cycle with a smaller harvest. A heat wave struck at the beginning of August which lasted for 3 weeks – adding yet a further unpredictable dimension to the harvest this year and the actual harvest of our red grapes ended up as a race! Generally Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan have different picking times but unusually this year, many vineyards reached maturity at the same time. The fermentation temperature of the reds was steady and never reached more than 29 degrees. The fermentation ended normally but showed us that this was going to be a very serious year – almost as if the steady, controlled fermentation compensated for all the unusual phenomena that occurred throughout the year!
2007 was a good year for the Cinsault which displayed red berry and concentrated cherry fruits, reminiscent of Amarone. As the Cabernet Sauvignon rested in vats, it showed intense coffee bean aromas and ripe fruit, typical of a warmer vintage. Nearly 7 years on, upon its’ release in the spring of 2014, the wine is showing impressive aromas of blueberries, ripe blackberries, cherries and plum fruitcake. The palate is initially soft and round with primary fruits of blackberry, plum, red cherries and pomegranate with some chocolaty spicy notes in the background. It opens up with mouth filling berry fruit and delicious notes of concentrated dark fruits and molasses. It really begins to impress in the mid palate where it holds its’ intensity and structure effortlessly all the way to the end. The alcohol is well integrated with elegant but youthful tannins – it is a well-balanced wine with good underpinning acidity and a compelling structure.