Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chateau Musar, Lebanon, 1998 (May 17, 2008)

This, off course, is Lebanon's most famous winery and there's quite a bit about it on the web if one cares to Google for it. I had the 1997 three years ago and it was very ripe and somewhat jammy and arguably more interesting than any red wine from south of the border. My wife bought me the 1998 two years ago and as they say Musar is susceptible to periods of dumbness. I've been cellaring it ever since. Just in case. In the event, the 1998 seems to be very much at its peak right now. And it's more austere, more Old World, than the 1997 I suppose.

Browning and fading at the rims. A bit of acetone on the nose and palate at first but just needs some time to clear off and show wild strawberries, herbs and earth. A wine that needs time in glass not just to open but to fill up. A mixture of Bordeaux and Rhone on the nose, though the acidity and the medium body makes it a bit Spanish or Bourgogne in character. Juicy acidity on the one hand - balancing the ripe sweetness of the fruit - and very soft, integrated tannins on the other. Tasty and crisp but not very complex. A recommended experience.


Joe said...

I liked the 1998 - didn't you say you would wait for the end of the decade to open this? Sounds like you opened it just in time. I would agree with your "austere" comment - I don't recall brown and fading for my bottle. Interesting comments re: Spain and Rhone - definitely had a "hot weather French" feel to it.

2GrandCru said...

I might have said that - and I probably believed it at the time - but you know how it is. You want to open a bottle, you look at what you have in stock and you staretd thinking: now? later? And you wind up opening bottles sooner than you'd planned.

Joe said...

Hi Chaim - wasn't holding you to it! I know how it is - so many bottles I've done that for. And then there are those you just won't open, despite knowing that they SHOULD be opened, they just sit there, waiting (some of my Aussies come to mind...)

simon said...

Chateau Musar 98 - Fantastic Stuff, any chance of a glass when you open it? haha.