Name: Rouge (Gaston Hochar)
Type: Red Wine
Grape Type: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault
Grapes and vines
Chateau Musar Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault from vineyards near the Bekaa Valley villages of Aana and Kefraya on gravelly soils over limestone. Planted from the 1930s onwards, yields are low from these mature bushvines (average age: 40 years): Between 15 to 35hl per hectare.
2010 was a year to remember in Lebanese wine-making history. Even from January it was obvious that this year would be lacking in water as snow fell only once on the 17th January (it was the shortest ski season ever!) and rainfall stopped on the 23rd February. March was so hot that the vines began to blossom in early April and in May and June the vines were so vigorous and green following successful flowering, that we thought we would have the biggest harvest ever. However in mid-July things began to change and the temperature rose dramatically. A heat-wave hit Lebanon which lasted for about 23 days with an average daily temperature of 40 °C and the highest ever temperature in the Bekaa Valley was recorded at 48.5° C. The grapes didn’t mature, they dried, as water disappeared from the grapes causing high sugar concentration. Cinsault and Carignan were less affected by this heat-wave than the Cabernet Sauvignon which suffered the most – dried grapes with high sugar content, high acidity and unfortunately we lost approximately 45% of our Cabernet this year.
Fermentation began normally but we took the decision for the first time to ferment between 26 and 28 ° C to give the natural yeasts the ability to finish fermentation because of the high sugar content but mainly to preserve the fruity aromas that we were worried the wines may lack due to the heat-wave affecting the grape skins, where the esters responsible for aromas exist.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan were blended in 2012 after having spent a year in untoasted French Nevers barrels and this vintage was bottled in the summer of 2013.
Decanting and serving
Bottled unfined and unfiltered, Chateau Musar Reds are suitable for vegans (fining agents often contain animal proteins); they’re also richly-textured and likely to ‘throw a crust’. This is a common feature of most fine wines and is especially true of Musar Red vintages over a decade old. Ideally, bottles should be standing up the night before opening to allow the sediment to settle. After careful decanting (and discarding of sediment, usually in the last centimetre of the bottle) the wine should be allowed to breathe for several hours and served at 18°C with roasts, grills (especially lamb), casseroles, game, and mature cheeses. It is a deep, rich garnet colour with aromas of raisins, cedar, prunes and cinnamon. The 2010 is a savoury, herby wine with delicate spices and the raisiny, figgy aromas follow through to the palate. This is an elegant vintage with fresh acidity and a long, dry finish.
Acidity: 4.22 g/l
Residual Sugar: < 2.00 g/l
Region: Bekaa Valley, Lebanon