Tasting the “Wines of the Ancients”: Chateau Musar

Tasting the Wines of the Ancients: Chateau Musar

Day 2 of Texsom held in Dallas at the Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas was another blaze of palate-popping exploration; thirty-nine wines in all that again covered the globe:

Chenin Blanc (Global), Rioja (Spain), Wines of Piedmont (Italy), Bordeaux Blend (Global), Chateua Musar (Lebanon)

We explored established and modern classics from Vouvray to Stellenbosch, Mendosa to Napa Valley, and Alba to Lebanon. Until yesterday, I was a Chateau Musar virgin, but today I feel seasoned by tastes of eight vintages that explored the tastes of time, of millennia, of the history of modern grape culture. We were lead by the stories, philosophy and personality of Serge Hochar owner and proprietory of Chateau Musar in Lebanon.

When returning home, I had to do a sanity check of my tasting notes that included a long list of non-grape descriptors: smoke, game, cedar, vague floral, dry earth, mineral, acid, creme brulee, cocoa, caramel. The closest thing to a fruit descriptor was peach pit! I found this:

Name: Chateau Musar
Vintage: 1993
Producer: Chateau Musar, Serge Hochar
Appelation: Lebanon
Grapes: Obaideh, Merwah
Tasting note: Yellow, lightly golden colour. Some smoke, marzipan, minerality and loads of floral and anise high notes. Powerful wine in the mouth. The fruit is very mineral and smokey. Hints of anise and marzipan. Medium  acidity. Decent balance. Dry, mineralic finish. Good length. Very fine white Musar.

Yep, it just about resembles my notes for the Chateau Musar vintages: Reds from 1975 to 2003 and whites from 1969 to 2004.

Note the lack of fruit descriptors, on one account due to the age of the wines, but also because of the varietals: Obaideh (a supposed native grape of Chardonnay) and Merwah (a supposed native grape of Semillion). Even when utilizing Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan, the style of not the style of today.

The wines of Musar are not wines of the modern world. Why? Because, these wine are syslistically the wines of the ancients. For about an hour and a half yesterday, I was not in the 21st Century but cast back in time nearly 6000 years ago when the origins of human civilization and where wine culture began. This was before grapes were transported to western Europe and before the intense grape characterstics that we know today had been crafted by man (and woman).

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Love to taste, talk and tweet about Texas wines and where they are in the global scheme for wines. After all that's the only way they will reach the full potential.

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