Chateau Musar Red 2000
|Lebanon, Bekaa Valley
Exceptional concentration, structure and balance mark this 11-year old blend of Cab, Cinsault and Carignan that's ripe with cassis and plums and a plume of smoke, earth and barnyard funk. Tannins subdued into a powdery softness, it's elegantly textured yet full and forward with a rich, layered complexity.
The 2000 CHATEAU MUSAR is tight, bright and tannic, astringent on the finish, rustic and earthy, well laced with barnyard notes. Some will hate it. This, I think, will be the most divisive of the Musar reds reviewed this issue. It is a more or less an equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan, aged for one year in French oak and late released only in 2007. The crisp character makes it refreshing and delivers lingering flavors to the palate on the finish, but it also means there is not a lot of fleshiness here, the texture is not particularly caressing and it has a certain austerity that some will appreciate -- and many won't. Yet, it evolved beautifully in the glass and I greatly admired its structure, which should guarantee its ability to age gracefully for a long while in the cellar. If you like the acidity and power, which may cause some to dismiss this as simply too rustic, the barnyard component will be where many people still get off the bus. I liked it more and more as it aired out and came together in the glass, although my love for it never quite equaled my admiration for its good intentions. I suspect many will not warm up to it, so this is certainly one of those times that the score here is a lot less important than the tasting note. Its ageworthiness gives me some optimism that it will come together with more time in the cellar, but it won't shock me if it does not. It was entrancing at times and it certainly has an upside that few wines in this region have. Five years might do it a lot of good, but let's be conservative at the moment. Others will be a lot happier with the '02 Hochar or the '01 Musar reviewed this issue. Drink now-2025.