Chateau Musar Lebanon Red 2000 - 750ml

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91pts Wine Enthusiast

Exceptional concentration, structure and balance mark this 11-year old blend of Cab, Cinsault and Carignan that's ripe with cassis and plums and a plume of smoke, earth and barnyard funk. Tannins subdued into a powdery softness, it's elegantly textured yet full and forward with a rich, layered complexity. ANNA LEE C. IIJIMA

89+ Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

The 2000 CHATEAU MUSAR is tight, bright and tannic, astringent on the finish, rustic and earthy, well laced with barnyard notes. Some will hate it. This, I think, will be the most divisive of the Musar reds reviewed this issue. It is a more or less an equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan, aged for one year in French oak and late released only in 2007. The crisp character makes it refreshing and delivers lingering flavors to the palate on the finish, but it also means there is not a lot of fleshiness here, the texture is not particularly caressing and it has a certain austerity that some will appreciate -- and many won’t. Yet, it evolved beautifully in the glass and I greatly admired its structure, which should guarantee its ability to age gracefully for a long while in the cellar. If you like the acidity and power, which may cause some to dismiss this as simply too rustic, the barnyard component will be where many people still get off the bus. I liked it more and more as it aired out and came together in the glass, although my love for it never quite equaled my admiration for its good intentions. I suspect many will not warm up to it, so this is certainly one of those times that the score here is a lot less important than the tasting note. Its ageworthiness gives me some optimism that it will come together with more time in the cellar, but it won’t shock me if it does not. It was entrancing at times and it certainly has an upside that few wines in this region have. Five years might do it a lot of good, but let’s be conservative at the moment. Others will be a lot happier with the ’02 Hochar or the ’01 Musar reviewed this issue. Drink now-2025.

 

Musar is one of the Middle East’s iconic wineries, making wines that are rarely “by the numbers” correct, but often distinctive. Over the years, I’ve loved some and disliked others, but I’ve always found them fascinating. Their “flaws” will not make them universally loved, with many being turned off for one reason or another (such as the barnyard and funk that often accompanies them). Those who do like their style and character will be, and have been, enthralled by ageworthy wines coming from an unlikely location.  Mark Squires

Winemaker Notes

When tasted in early November 1999, the wines were tannic, concentrated and powerful, but very well balanced.  Now at 20 years after the vintage, the 2000 holds on to its primary fruit whilst really starting to reveal the classic Musar identity, balancing out the characteristic sweet spice and desiccated fruit notes with more evolved elements of leather, tar, tobacco and a hint of game.  These complex aromas and flavours are lifted with a fresh lick of acidity that will ensure the wine will continue to age gracefully for years to come.

Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan