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Chateau Musar, advice


#224

Agree with Herbster.

Also yet again I wish the society sold Musar Blanc.


#225

I know what you mean GuidoD re. the food. When I looked at some of the Ottolenghi or Palomar recipes, they looked delicious but maybe with a bit too much going on given the main point of the evening is the wine. I’ve gone for Rack of Lamb. What we really need is a reverse Food Matcher where you enter the wine you want to drink and it suggests the food rather than vice versa. Thats the way round I normally do it - am I odd?
I would baulk at calling my little gathering a wine dinner (it will surely deteriorate in to something much less civilised fairly quickly) but its an interesting point about comparing Musar with some other fine wines rather than a vertical tasting. I’m doing it this way because TWS offered it in a trio case…maybe I need to organise another soiree and do it your way? Suggestions for wines to compare the Musar ('99, '08 &12) another time maybe.
Never tried the Musar white, will have to give it a go sometime.


#226

Think the other reason for a vertical tasting of Musar (other than TWS handily provide it in a box) is to taste the considerable variance between vintages at the same time


#227

I think it gets served in verticals because there is so much vintage variation - to the degree that you would really not think it was the same wine at times.

On the food point, that’s probably a fair comment, but there is some Middle Eastern food it would be fine with. The white is a bit of a marmite wine, I have tried it twice and just don’t like it.


#228

You could always have a separate evening to go to town on the cookbook, whip up a selection of mezze and drink it with arak like the locals do - tilit w tiltein, i.e. one-third arak, two-thirds water. Knocks out your taste buds between mouthfuls of whatever it is.

Or get some bottles of Almaza if it’s summer by then :beers:


#229

I’ve served Musar (and bordeaux) with The Palomar’s rolled pork belly with Israeli Couscous before and its a fantastic match. That’s a 3 day recipe though.


#230

A few points on this, if of interest:

  • I’m not saying that there aren’t Lebanese foods that Musar could match, just as there aren’t Lebanese foods that any wine could match (probably). I’m saying that I don’t think that - in general - Musar red shows at its best with Lebanese food, but because it is made in Lebanon, people have a predisposition to serve it with Lebanese foods (or those they see as similar, e.g. Turkish).

  • What I am saying is that if Musar wasn’t Lebanese, e.g. if it was made in central France, then people wouldn’t suggest Lebanese food for it, not least because they don’t really help it show its best. And that when fully mature, it has nuances and subtleties that really merit plainer food, like fine Burgundy or Bordeaux.

  • In addition, Musar is not really (as I understand it) part of the Lebanese gastronomic tradition (unlike, say, Picpoul and oysters in the South of France). My understanding is that the red is entirely or mostly made using French grape varieties, and that its formulation was informed by French wine making in Bordeaux. Though I know the much older history of wine making in Lebanon inspired the creation of Musar in the 1920s (or was it '30s?).

  • Interestingly, I believe that Musar Blanc is made from local grape varieties. And in my view the white does work well with (generalisation) Lebanese food. I’m not saying there’s a culinary matching tradition; this point is an aside.

  • For the avoidance of doubt, I love Lebanese food, and Musar red and white. I just wouldn’t choose to serve my bottle of 1995 Musar or bottles of 1999 with Lebanese or Turkish food.

  • Serge Hochar, before he died, seemed to say that “There in no classic food pairing. My wines match all the foods of the world.”. See: https://grapecollective.com/articles/getting-the-message-of-musar-with-serge-hochar . This could be interpreted in different ways. I, personally, don’t read it as him saying “Aged red Musar works with all foods everywhere, and is as good with raspberry pavlova and sweet and sour pork as it is with roast lamb”. Rather, I interpret his point about “no classic food pairing” reflecting Ch. Musar being a very new winemaker, and one borne out of entrepreneurial passion rather than a longstanding gastronomic tradition. And the point about foods of the world, saying it’s a) able to match plenty of things, and b) it’s not particularly for any one culinary type. Candidly, I also wonder if this is him saying subtly that it’s not really at its best with Lebanese food… or hinting that way. But this may leave me open to charges of confirmation bias, I know.

I think older Musar, such as the 1999 I tried about a year ago, has great subtleties. And given its (in some ways) origins in Bordeaux, I would reach towards the foods that complement Bordeaux wines over Lebanese food. For Lebanese food, I actually think Arak is a far better match!

It’s an interesting subject. Musar is a one-off!


#231

I remember reading an interview with Serge Hochar ages ago in which he was asked about his favourite Musar-food combo. His (somewhat surprising) answer was Musar blanc served at room temperature with a steak!


#232

Probably too late, but the main advice I would give is open all wines two DAYS before (not two HOURS).

I’ve never yet found a Moose that wasn’t at its best after 2 or 3 days.


#233

I had a 6 bottle case once from TWS.
It didn’t leave an indelible impression on me and haven’t bought it since.