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Chateau Musar, advice


#21

On the subject of ageing… Ch Musar releases its wines only several years after the vintage. Many people say they are not ready for drinking even then, but whether you agree with that or not the wines are certainly good to drink on release - they are not fruitless tannic monsters. So to get an idea of what they are like I would suggest you just buy one and drink it.

@NickFoster You may be right that the white is made in the oxidative style, but that does not mean the oxidation is noticable. I certainly have had some bottles of white Musar that have had (at least) hints if oxidation, but most have been fine.

The same applies to qvevri wine - in fact all the more so. Qvevris are usually sealed at the top, and if the wine is fermented on the skins it is protected by the tannins too. Only small amounts of oxygen get in through the clay.


#22

Had the 1998 two months ago - sublime - nuanced combinations of silky dark fruit and earth - not too assertive but layer after layer of interest - loads of structure. Chosen by the sommelier of a very, very good restaurant on Bristol harbourside. Followed this with a bottle of 2010 at home last week (from TWS)- opened several hours early, decanted, temperature checked - all by the book. Not quite so subtle, but once again long, nicely integrated flavours and tannins - which will only deepen and broaden for years and years I’m sure. Lots of people say ‘sensuous’ which sounds silly. But i think they’re probably right.


#23

@NickP I was fortunate recently to have the opportunity to have a vertical tasting of several vintages of Musar; more details here if you’re interested…

LWF 2018 musings

I tasted back to 1998 and like @ConradCarew mentioned above, Chateau Musar with that sort of bottle age is quite sublime. For me the more recent vintages (2010, 11’s) seemed less integrated, as if the balance of fruit & savoury hadn’t quite settled into the wine it should become.

I heard from others at the fair that bottles from the 70’s and 80’s were being poured at different points and still drank well.

Not one to rush into!


#24

Just for the record, I too agree that Musar will keep for decades.

It’s just that I don’t think it should put off people off drinking it young if they want to, or if they don’t have the opportunity or money to lay their hands on older vintages. And even if you do want to explore older stuff, it is worrh understanding the young wine.


#25

Hi Nick, sorry for delayed response. Had to dig out some tasting notes from 2016. Vertical Musar tasting at our wine club. 2000-2008. For me it summed up why I’ve never really rated Musar. The problem/USP is no consistency, every vintage very different, some bottle variation etc. The tasting highlighted need to age this wine. The 07 and 08 were very young, the 05 was nearly ready, the 03 seemed to be ageing. And the 01 was not great. The 02 was superb.
So be very selective and 15 years seems about right.


#26

I agree with @Kent_wino - I find it to be a very different wine in different vintages. The most recent ones I’ve tried were '99 (a very iron-y bloody meat note I didn’t love) and the '05 from half bottle which is so exotically perfumed (a sort of sandalwoody incens-y note) you imagine it’s the sort of thing ancient Persian poets wrote reams about.


#27

Does anyone remember where they FIRST heard about Chateau Musar?

I think my first experience was in a book by Iain Banks. I can’t remember which exactly, but I do recall there were a couple of pages dedicated to it in his book about Whisky, Raw Spirit. Here’s a quick extract, referring to souther Islay whiskies:


#28

I bought a case of the 1975 (?) from the Spectator Wine Club in about 1985, when it was run by the late Simon Hoggart. He loved the wine and promoted it through his writings.


#29

I had a bottle of the '09 at Christmas - on recommendation from Pierre, I think what makes Musar different is that the wine is only released when its ready - hence the '06 was held back. We apparently have some 1977 in the Museum bins here, have been told that there is a fair amount of bottle variation however some are still showing very well.

I think what makes Musar different is how long it sits in barrel meaning the wine oxidises slightly, and everything rounds out. Everyone at Christmas really enjoyed it, if you want something really odd, look at some of the Musar whites!

I think the main thing that marks Musar out and why it has a following is that the wines are so unique in their flavour profile and complexity - hints of volatile acidity and Brett as well.

There is quite a good write up on Decanter:

My suggestion is to simply try a bottle - its really good value for the complexity and enjoyment you get out of the wine.


#30

Still very much missed. His parliamentary sketches used to crack me up.

Aha! A solution to being born in such a dire year for claret!


#31

I had a bottle of the 1979 last year. That particular bottle was still showing well.


#32

Just try it.

The vintage variability - which is more in style than quality- is what makes it interesting for me.There are differing views on the white as has been noted. I don’t like it. Have tried it a couple of times, and it’s like a clumsily made old fashioned white Rioja for me.

The red on the other hand is something else, and I have five different vintages currently. Whatever you do, let it open up. Straight from the bottle it can have the most off putting brett/feral nose. Give it an hour or two and it’s a different wine…


#33

I love this red, I used to drink it lots in the early days but the quality was so good the price went up and up and I get it rarely as a special treat nowadays.


#34

Enjoying a couple of glasses of this

Can’t improve upon their tasting notes really! The bottle/labelling is all a bit try-hard hipster, but the wine is lovely.


#35

Sounds great! And love the allusion to the Luddites! My heroes! :wink:


#36

I just realised I posted this in the Musar thread rather than the weekend drinking thread… I tried to find a link between Lebanon and Luddites to explain the sudden change of topic but tragically failed…


#37

Here’s a similarly in-your-face labelling regime, if it helps :+1:

image


#38

Just spotted some bottles of this in M&S which I’ve never seen before. I didn’t buy any but I think it was about £16 a bottle. I thought M&S only stocked their own label wines so I guess this was some sort of compromise. Looks interesting.


#39

Can’t see that wine listed on the Musar site - my guess it might be an earlier drinking blend perhaps - would rather spend a few pounds extra and get a full Musar :slight_smile:


#40

I think they prefer to wherever possible, but I don’t think it’s a hard and fast rule any longer.