Chateau Musar Blanc 2017 (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon)

Chateau Musar Blanc 2017
(Bekaa Valley, Lebanon)

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About the wine:

We began the year with high hopes after experiencing above average rain and snowfall in January, leading to expectations that the water table would be replenished. More rain and snow followed in February, and non-stop in March, but it turned into a mild spring with temperatures rising in April, though not excessively. In fact, opening of buds on the vines was 10 days later than usual due to low air temperatures and comparatively cold soils. In late April a one day frost hit the Bekaa Valley but was not seen as particularly harmful at the time. We only learned of the effects of that day at harvest time when it transpired that the vines, pruned in early winter, had indeed suffered. Fortunately, the wines of this vintage are unique with good structure and power – a combination of vines, soils, minimal human intervention and our natural wine-making philosophy.

Grape Varietals: 60% Obaideh & 40% Merwah. Obaideh was the first to be picked on 19th September, earlier than usual directly due to the weather conditions, and the Merwah on the 27th September.

Winemaking: The grapes were fermented in stainless steel vats at a temperature between 19°C and 21°C to maintain freshness and the varietal’s characteristics. It was then blended, cold-stabilized and bottled during march 2022.

Vineyard Region: Mount Lebanon slopes, Bekaa Valley

Alcohol: 11.5%

Tasting Notes:

Pale lemon colour and a nose of apples, fresh hay with a hint of vanilla and grapefruit citrus notes. There are orange flower notes to the nose which follow through to the palate with sweet basil, peach and tarte tatin flavours which will develop as the wine ages. Our tastings after the harvest at the winery revealed an elegant Obaideh and a ‘wild’ Merwah, perhaps a perfect combination of styles and genuine reflection of the terroir and the ease with which they have adapted to Lebanese conditions over centuries.

The 2017 vintage looks very promising; it would benefit from decanting and, cellared well, it will keep for decades. The quality of the indigenous Obaideh and Merwah exceeded our expectations this year.