jamie goode's wine blog

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Musar 1999 - it rocks

After mentioning Musar 2000 on my blog yesterday, I got some comments from people whose opinions I trust suggesting that 1999 is the vintage to go for. I've not tried this, so this afternoon, after watching England's heroic performance against the Aussies (how I regret not taking up the freebie ticket/flight/hotel option I was offered last week...but sometimes you have to put the family first) and taking elder son and friend to the golf range, I popped into Sainsbury, where I managed to find some 99 lurking behind a large quantity of 2000. (Yes, journalists sometimes do buy wine...)

It rocks. It's harmonious, complex, exotic and more-ish. If all you see in Musar is the wine 'faults', then you need to take a step back and think about wine afresh. This is world class wine, and it's only 13.99.

Chateau Musar 1999 Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
Complex savoury spicy nose shows so much aromatic interest, it's hard to know where to begin. There's leather, earth, a hint of balsamic vinegar, warm spices and some sweet red fruits. The palate is warm and harmonious, with a lovely sweet and savoury sort of character. It's full, earthy and spicy with a bit of bitter tang like a stinky cheese. In fact, I reckon people who don't get Musar are a bit like people who will only eat plastic-packed cheddar and find goats cheese offensive. Anyway, this is soft, warm, mellow and complex. A really good vintage of this wine in the mould of the 1993 or 1991. This has a 20-30 year drinking window, because it's lovely now but will continues to develop for ages. 93/100

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Musar 99

Love it or hate it, there's nothing like Chateau Musar, the iconic Lebanese red. I happen to like it a lot, while recognizing that a typical bottle of the stuff would make an ideal wine to pour at a wine faults clinic. But, amazingly, the melange of odd flavours in Musar usually work together, to produce a complex, ageworthy red wine in almost every vintage. That Musar ages well was testified to by the impressive array of bottles present at a wine geek 'offline' dinner a couple of years back, dubbed the Musarathon.

What about 1999? I'm happy to report that this is a fine vintage of Musar. An it's still well priced (in the USA this is much, much pricier).

Chateau Musar 1999 Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
Red with a bricking rim it has a slightly volatile nose showing lifted, earthy, spicy, rather baked fruit. The palate is warm, mouthfilling, spicy and dry with lots of sweet spicy elements and a slightly metallic tang on the finish. Nicely complex and rather funky. The tannins have softened such that they're almost non-existent in terms of providing structure. Very good/excellent 91/100 (13.75 Waitrose)


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