Chateau Musar 1998
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan
92 Points - Tom Cannavan (for 1998 Vintage)
The winter preceding the 1998 harvest was a normal Lebanese winter- a mixture of cold, rainy and snowy weather with several weeks of sunshine. This was followed by a cold, wet spring which lasted until June. Summer followed its normal pattern, although from June until October there was no rain at all.
The harvest started on the 9th September with mixed maturity levels: some grapes were already quite mature, whilst we delayed harvesting others for up to two more weeks. There was no obvious reason for this diversity, but this is "les caprices de la nature".
The crop was good in terms of both quality and quantity - the grapes were healthy and very good to eat. Fermentation progressed smoothly, although slightly more quickly than usual, maceration was up to four weeks and the wines spent one year in French Nevers oak casks. It was blended in September 2000 and bottled in August 2001.
The 1998 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan, which come from vineyards with an average age of 40 years. This vintage has more Cinsault, making it very fragrant and aromatic.
Fermentation progressed smoothly, although slightly quicker than usual, maceration was up to four weeks. The wines were racked into French Nevers oak casks in August 1999 and aged for 12 months, then blended in September 2000 and bottled in August 2001.
A distinctive and sumptuous, full-flavoured, deep brick-red coloured wine, with succulent depth... exhibiting complex, aromatic and concentrated layers of rich, soft, ripe berry and stewed sweet stone-fruit characters, with suggestions of cedar and spice... balanced and structured this attractive, expressive, seductively enticing wine beguiles and excites... excellent with game and rich meat dishes… approachable now though will continue to develop over the next five years or so. - Michael Whiteside
A relatively pale, light vintage but this has relatively mature, classic, sweetly cedary aromas already, with smooth, graceful flavours of wheat and raisin - Andrew Jefford, Decanter Magazine, December 2003
Noticeably sweet and soft, harmonious with evident acidity and good length - Michael Broadbent, Musar Masterclass, Christies, November 2004
This is a beautifully mature wine that is delicious to enjoy now. The wine has elegance, persistence and ethereal flavours of dried autumn leaves, black truffles and pu'er tea. Lovely, silky texture, supple palate and a long finish. An impressive wine that rivals the best of Bordeaux – Jeannie Cho Lee, October 2016
Pale, jewel-bright garnet. Light, spicy, particularly well-integrated nose, already well developed. A sweet start on the palate; the opposite of heavy; a really lovely wine: fresh, sweet, with some very slight mintiness and a dry finish. Very long, and nicely mature: seems just right now. It will go beautifully with food. One of my favourite wines in this collection. Is it the Cinsault I like so much? - Jancis Robinson, March 2018
Region: Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
Residual Sugar: N/A