Chateau Musar 2010 White

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Chateau Musar is better know for its red wines which have an uncanny ability to seem to age forever. However, do not under-estimate the whites from this world class estate. The grape vareities are Obaideh and Merwah which are thought to be genetically similar to Chardonnay and Semillon, but as yet no DNA has been proved this categorically. It almost does not matter what varieties this is made from as there is almost no other white wine in the world quite like it. Perhaps the old school White Riojas such as Vina Tondonia or Castillo Ygay bear a passing resemblance.

This is a white to serve at room temperature and from a decanter, and as old as possible (they have commercially available vintages back to 1954) and you need to think think of it as a white wine that thinks it's red. This is a truly extraordinary white that deserves more attention than it gets.

Lebanon | Bekaa Valley | Chateau Musar | 60% Obaideh, 40% Merwah | ABV 12% | Drink 2021 - 2035+

The Producer

Chateau Musar

Chateau Musar

Chateau Musar is quite possibly the only winery in Asia that is a household name. Its calling card is how extraordinarily well the wines from this winery can age and as equally impressive is how the winery managed to turn out wines of quality during 15 years of civil war in Lebanon, which finally ended in 1992.

The vineyards are located in the Bekaa Valley, which is actually more of a plateau than a valley, but its elevated position, reaching 1,000 metres in some places means that the heat is not nearly as oppressive as you would initially imagine.

The winery was founded in 1930 by Gaston Hochar, whose ancestors had arrived from France in the 12th century, and is now run by his grandsons. However, it was Gaston's son Serge who brought the winery fame and championed the wines of Lebanon through the turbulent times of the 1970s through to his passing in 2014.

Chateau Musar is mostly know for its red wine which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan. The wine has an uncanny ability to age for decades and I can attest to this having recently tasted 1967 and 1978, both of which were massively impressive. Almost as extraordinary as this wine, however, is their white. It took me a long time to understand this wine, as it clearly not a simple white to serve cool from the fridge. No, this is a highly concentrated wine that the Hochars prefer to serve after the red, and at room temperature, and always drink the oldest vintage available.

Musar produces a number of other wines, but the one other that stands out for me is the Hochar Pere et Fils, which is not strictly a second wine of Musar, but more of an early drinking version, with less of a tannic impact. The grape blend differs sightly with Grenache replacing the Cabernet component of its bigger brother.

The Wine Region

Bekaa Valley

Bekaa Valley

Lebanon produces around 7 million bottles of wine per year and the vast majority of this production originates in the Bekaa Valley, located between two mountain ranges the Lebanon and Anti Lebanon mountains. The vineyards are kept fertile the water formed from melting snow in the moutains, and its elevation of around 1,000 metres mean that the heat is tempered during the summer ripening.

The wines from the valley have reached fame largely due to one pioneering producer, Chateau Musar whose wine seem to defy the steady march of time having the uncanny ability to be savoured and appreciated well past their 50th birthdays, and this includes their white

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