Chateau Musar Blanc 2016 (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon)

Chateau Musar Blanc 2016
(Bekaa Valley, Lebanon)

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About the wine:

Grape Varietals: 60% Obaideh (aka Chardonnay!) & 40% Merwah (aka Semillon!)

The 2016 harvest showed without doubt that global warming is causing higher annual temperatures and at the same time, successive years of low rainfall have resulted in drier soils. We were therefore thankful for a good amount of rainfall in the first few months of the year and much needed snow in January which was hugely welcomed by the dry terrain. This year was warm with an average night temperature of + 5 degrees Celsius compared to the -5 in the previous April. The ancient Obaideh and Merwah varieites that make up the Chateau Musar White are grown at high altitude (1200-1400 metres above sea level) and avoid the higher temperatures on the Bekaa Valley floor and were harvested on the 20th September (Obaideh) and 1st October for the Merwah. Obaideh was tasty, fresh and full of fragrance with Merwah, full of rich citrus notes – a great combination of our two indigenous grapes.

Winemaking: The Merwah was fermented and aged in new Nevers oak barrels for 9 months on the lees and the Obaideh was fermented in stainless steel vats, two different fermentation methods to match the two different grape characteristics. Fermentation temperatures for both ranged between 19-23˚C and malo-lactic fermentation went smoothly. It was blended and bottled in the summer of 2017 following cold stabilisation and the vintage released in 2022 after 6 years of ageing.

Vineyard Region: Mount Lebanon slopes, Bekaa Valley

Alcohol: 12%

Tasting Notes:

Pale gold in colour – there is quince, lemon zest, baked apple with a hint of vanilla on the nose. The palate has citrus and subtle herbaceous notes, grapefruit and preserved lemons with an overall impression of ripeness, a lovely freshness and long dry finish. Cellared well, it will keep for decades.

Ratings & Reviews:

“The 2016 Chateau Musar White is an extraordinary wine. It’s likened by some to a mature dry white Bordeaux and by others to a Manzanilla. I reckon it could pass for old white Rhone or Rioja. The truth is that it’s not like anything else at all. Yes, there’s that oxidative character, so typical of Musar, but there are also notes of honey, nuts, cream and citrus. It’s rich but dry.” Jonathan Ray The Spectator Magazine February 2022

Vinous Media:
"The 2016 Chateau Musar White has a light bouquet with wild peach and apricot blossom scents and a touch of acacia honey in the background. The palate is a little oxidative on the entry, with toffee, apple, peach, banana and marzipan notes. It's a bit of an acquired taste, though the palate soon becomes accustomed to the flavors." - Neal Martin (Apr 2023)