Fresh bread, quince and a variety of citrus and tree fruits, cloves, cinnamon, herbs of the garrigue and a whole bucketful of wet stone/slate mineral aromas. It really is delightfully fresh and alive, albeit in a (deliberately) oxidative style - think old-school white Rioja, with a bit of added richness and body, not just on the nose, but the palate, too. It really is wonderfully expressive, with lots of secondary fruit flavours (soft citrus, quince, apricot and raisin), herbs and spices, a touch of wood/grape tannin and marvellous balancing acidity - grippy, but generous and very, very long. Despite the low fill level, a bottle in tip-top condition, and still with a good few years of potential development left in it - but at the top of its game right now. Yummy! You can buy this wine from our online shop for the measly sum of just £12.95.
Chateau Musar 2001 Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
It is ages since I opened a bottle of Musar, not least because my stash (currently a few bottles each from 3 or 4 different vintages) is buried under piles of other stuff in my storage unit. But it is a wine I have always loved, ever since I drank my first bottle (a 1978, if memory serves) so opening one always feels like a treat. But I'm not sure what to make of this bottle - or maybe even this particular vintage. The hue is the classic Musar brick red, though slightly deeper and less translucent than usual (and maybe even a touch on the muddy/dull side), as is the nose, which shows hints of the beetrooty, sweet raspberry vinegary volatile acidity and plenty of bramble and blackcurrant fruit. But it just seems to lack the sort of vitality and verve and sheer hedonistic perfume I expect from Musar. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something is missing. The palate too is lacking in the excitement stakes, for whilst there is plenty of fresh red and black fruits, and again a touch of polished wood and VA, it somehow doesn't have a "wow" factor. Not that it is a bad or faulty wine - just that, for the moment at least, it isn't doing it for me, either with last night's spag-bol, or on its own this evening (spicy fishcakes, chips and salad would be a step too far for such a red wine). Nevertheless, as a long-standing Musar-head, I am confident that this wine has yet to show its true colours. Some vintages show well on release (at around 7 or 8 years of age) whilst others take 15 years or more to blossom. I'm hoping that this is one of the latter, and I shall tuck my remaining bottles away for another 5 years or more.