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Chateau Musar 1997 posses a rich, warm colour, and due to its age now starting to pale at its rim, with a smoky nose full of spices and fruits. On the palate, there are mixed berry fruits – cherries, redcurrants, pomegranates and Christmas spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The wine possesses good acidity and still good tannin levels resulting in a wine of classic structure with long ageing potential (which is why this wine is still drinking fantastically).
A rich, warm deep cherry red with a smoky nose full of spice and fruits. On the palate there are mixed berry fruits – cherries, redcurrants, pomegranates and Christmas spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. Ripe sweet fruit with a smoky edge. Good acidity with good tannin levels results in a wine of classic structure with long ageing potential.
Lebanon’s Western Bekaa Valley, a shallow, fertile basin, running between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges, has been home to the vine for 6,000 years. Vineyards were commercially exploited here by the sea-faring ancestors of the modern Lebanese, who introduced viticulture to Greece, Egypt and Italy. The Greeks named them ‘Phoenicians’ after the purple dye (‘phoinikèia’) they made from seashells. Famed for being able to revive their cities rapidly after destruction, the Phoenicians inspired the legend of the Phoenix. The region’s wines are mentioned many times in the Bible (as in Hosea 14:7), and Cana, where Christ turned water into wine, is near the southern port of Tyre. Baalbek, originally devoted to Phoenician fertility god Baal, is also the site of a vast Roman temple to wine god Bacchus. French in origin, the Hochar family (pronounced ‘Hoshar’) arrived in Lebanon with the crusades and have remained there ever since.
"A fairly normal winter followed by a fresh spring with no hail or frost and then a mild summer with a very cloudy and fresh August followed by a sunny September. These perfect conditions allowed grapes to mature slowly and surely at a pace rarely achieved.
The harvest started on the 15th September and ended on the 11th October for the reds and the 21st October for the whites. However we had to stop harvesting for four days from the 30th September to the 3rd October because of rain.
Fermentation continued at about the same pace at which the grapes had matured. It was the slowest and best fermentation we have ever had at Chateau Musar, especially between the 15th and 30th September with 80% of the harvest in the cellar.
I tasted the wines on the 18th November. Almost all malolactics are finished and wines look ready for drinking. Very, very beautiful wines and the white wines are just as beautiful as the reds. All wines are big and perfectly balanced whatever the cepage – Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault, Merwah and Obaideh.
Definitely a vintage to follow very closely….."
Serge Hochar – November 1997
“First tasted with Serge Hochar in the Chateau Musar cellars, December 1999. The wine was still in individual vats: Cinsault from the garrigues of Kefraya in the Bekaa Valley: crisp, fragrant; attractive, some elegance. Carignan from Ana , a little further north: more flesh, nice fruit, very tannic. Cabernet Sauvignon was an incredibly deep colour: green, stalky nose; austere, astringent. It would be another year before blending. Most recently, seemed fully developed, good flavour, lovely aftertaste. Last tasted May 2002 *** ”
Michael Broadbent – Vintage Wine
“There’s no point in putting it in the sample case; those who know this delicious, silky delectable wine will want to buy without further introduction”
Simon Hoggart – The Spectator 25th January 2003
"Finally, the 1997 Chateau Musar, of which little remains. It's showing well for its age but needs drinking up. Relish its sweet fruit, savoury edge and mellow softness and marvel at the magic that is Musar"
Jonathan Ray, The Spectator Magazine
Recommended to be accompanied with red meats and hard cheeses.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan
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