This Lebanese beauty, though crafted from French grapes, tastes utterly unique and has refined elegance, smoothness and depth. An exotic bloom of spicy-sweet red fruit scents, including Chambord, kirsch, red currants, cranberries and caramel apples, mingles with aromas of incense, fresh thyme and licorice. Sveltely styled, the wine bursts with vivid flavors of dried cherries, cola, red apple skins, pencil shavings and tobacco, all carried on an engaging, plush palate.
Red raspberry, sweet blackberry, bergamot, juniper, thyme and dried cranberry.
Château Musar came into prominence in 1979 when Serge Hochar, son of winery founder Gaston Hochar, brought a case of the estate's best red to the Bristol Wine Fair in England and caused an international sensation. Wine from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley has been celebrated since biblical times, but its modern history dates to just a few passionate pioneers. During an extended visit to France in the late 1920s, Gaston Hochar developed an enthusiasm for wine. Upon his return, he set up his winery as a hobby in the cellars of the 17th-century Castle of Mzar in Ghazir, just north of Beirut on the Mediterranean coast. His son Serge studied winemaking in Bordeaux and bottled his first Musar vintage in 1959; today, he and his brother Ronald run the château. The estate's vines are separated from the inland desert by the Mount Lebanon range. This geography preserves a typical Mediterranean climate of wet winters and dry, warm (but not brutally hot) summers.
This medium- to full-bodied blend calls for red meats of similar intensity, such as veal, turkey, pork or lamb. For flavorings, take inspiration from the wine's Middle Eastern provenance and serve the Musar with spiced lamb kabobs. Fire up the grill and prepare for romance with the magical pairing of this Château Musar and my recipe for Grilled Flank Steak and Fennel Spiced Vegetables.
Lebanon may be the oldest site of wine production in the world. Early Phoenicians, who were an enterprising maritime culture, are thought to have spread viticulture throughout the Mediterranean in ancient times.
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