Chateau Musar Rouge 2003
Though Middle-Eastern wine is something of a novelty in the U.S., wine is nothing new to this area; the cultivation of the vine goes back to the Phoenicians who did a brisk business trading their wares along the Mediterranean sea ports, introducing viniculture into many parts of southern Europe. Perhaps the oldest running wine concern in the region, Chateau Musar has been making fine wine 15 miles north of Beirut since 1930! These are reds of great character and subtlety, decidedly Old World in style. The grapes are hand-picked as the sun rises across the Bekaa valley and are then swiftly transferred to the cellar in Ghazir where fermentation takes place followed by maceration lasting 2 to 4 weeks. During the first year the wine is racked into Bordeaux type barrels made from Nevers oak and where it matures from 12 to 15 months.
VM91: "The 2003 Chateau Musar seems very different than years such as 1981, but maybe that’s just because it is so young, or possibly because of the vintage or an increasing nod to modernity. Either way, this is a ripe, sexy Musar. It retains its elegant mid-palate as well as lovely fruit and fine balance. There is a slightly sweet tinge to the finish, perhaps a touch of a high-toned demeanor. The lush texture and surprising richness make this a rather luscious wine by Musar standards. It is showing little but baby fat right now. Fresh and youthful, it is just a friendly puppy today. I’m not so sure it is in the winery’s preferred style, but it should be a very enjoyable vintage for consumers. Showing not a trace of age, it has a lot of potential and a long life ahead. It may yet be entitled to further upticks in score, but let’s be a bit conservative at the moment. Drink now-2035. " Reviewed 06/2013