#newwinethisweek Week 18 – Lebanese red

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Wine from the Lebanon I hear you cry. Are you crazy? It’s honestly not as mad as it first sounds, in fact Lebanon is one of the oldest wine producing countries on the entire planet. The grapes grown are also very familiar, blends made from Rhone varieties such as Grenache, Carignan and Cinsaut, along with a good smattering of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

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There is approximately 2,000ha of area under vine with the majority of it being in the Bekaa Valley. In years gone by the only winery that anyone would be able to name would be the ubiquitous Chateau Musar, but these days more and more wines from the region are finding their ways onto the lists of wine merchants and even onto the supermarket shelves of the UK.

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Chateau Musar however does have real cult status in the UK. Gaston Hochar set up the winery following a visit to Bordeaux back in 1930 and Gaston’s son Serge became the winemaker in 1959, after heading back to Bordeaux to study at the University of Oenology. The chateau first came to prominence in the UK in 1979 when Michael Broadbent tasted the 1967 vintage at the Bristol Wine Fair and pronounced to be “the discovery of the fair”.

I’m also hoping that Lebanese wine will be one of the discoveries of #newwinethisweek!

 

You know the drill by now; get yourself a bottle, tell us what you think and give Lebanese red a score out of 10. I’m really looking forward to this one as my experience amounts to the sum total of two bottles… I am going to give Musar a try for the first time.

Lebanese wine isn’t the easiest to find on the supermarket shelves but here are a few places to start your hunt:

Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent 2011, Bekaa valley (The Wine Society £8.95) 

Chateau Ksara Clos St Alphonse 2010, Bekaa Valley (M&S £9.99)

Château Ka Source de Rouge 2011, Bekaa Valley (Waitrose £11.99)

Chateau Musar 2005, Bekaa Valley (The Wine Society £20.00) 

Chateau Musar 2005, Bekaa Valley (Waitrose £21.99)

 

 

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Posted on May 5, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Nice choice! Chateau Musar definitely makes very good wines, and there are more very respectful producers in Lebanon.

  2. Reblogged this on Please Bring Me My Wine and commented:
    Ant kicking us off for week 18 as well!

  3. johncstevens

    This is going to be a particularly tricky review this week due to the Ornellaia still tickling my taste buds from the vertical tasting at Roberson last night-more on that in due course I’m sure from the Wine Geek’s blog.

    It’s of no great surprise that I haven’t experienced any Lebanese wine before, so the vinology education continues courtesy of #NewWineThisWeek. I think I’ve learnt more in the past 4 months about different grape varieties than I have in the past 4 years! Fantastic work guys.

    I went for the 2007 Chateau Masur from Waitrose for £21.99, on the premise that it’s rare to be able to buy the (so called) finest wine from a region for such a price, so make the most of it.

    I found the wine to have an intense muscular nose, with black cherry and smokey notes. Unusually for me and my over generously proportioned schnoz, I found the palate to deliver more pleasure than the nose. The dark fruit flavours build and build in the mouth alongside a crescendo of acidity that matches the firm tannins well. I think this balance needs a few years to be in perfect harmony, but the prospects are very promising.

    In summary, this is a Cab. Sav. with finesse and style which is considerably more approachable at this relatively early stage of development than its Bordeaux counterparts, but would definitely benefit from a few extra years tucked away.

    An eye-opening 8/10.

  4. We had the third leg of our bring a course events last night and I decided to take along the bottle of Chateau Musar 2007 I bought from Waitrose for £21.99 to try it out on the gang.

    The nose was spicy and concentrated – blackberry, a hint of red currant and very spicy with hints of pepper and garam massala. On the palate the wine was spicy and fruity with good acidity and firm tannin – still young. I kept some wine in a glass and kept going back to it… and it kept getting better and more elegant as it opened up. 8/10

    The rest of the gang were unsure at first but grew into it – it was a bit young and tannic for their taste, especially after a very juicy Chinati.

    A very interesting week and I will certainly be back to try some more wines from Lebanon.

  1. Pingback: Bring a course & wine – Round 3 | Confessions of a Wine Geek

  2. Pingback: #newwinethisweek – Analysing 2014 and changes for 2015 | Confessions of a Wine Geek

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