In 2005 we experienced an unusual weather pattern in Lebanon unequalled in 38 years! We had rain and snow throughout January which lasted until mid February followed by rain in March and April. Humid but mild weather then set in from May through to September, with one very unusual day of rain on the 23rd July.
The combination of high levels of humidity and comparatively low temperatures affected maturity and our harvesting was delayed by about 10 days as a result.
It was hardly surprising, therefore, that on arrival of the grapes at the winery on the 18th September, we recorded medium alcohol content and high acidity. Fermentation was similar to our summer weather
never reaching high temperatures. In fact, this year, we had no need to cool the wines as temperatures never reached more than 30C.
All our red varieties were very fruity this year, and the resulting wine is well balanced and characterised by rich, ripe fruits, good acidity and smooth integrated tannins.
The wines spent 9 months in cement vats and then a year in French Nevers oak barrels and the final blend of approximately a third each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan rested for another 9 months in hazir to begin their journey of maturation and development, before being released in the spring of 2012.
The 2005 vintage is a deep blood red colour with a smoky, spicy, nose of black fruits, toasted bread, dark chocolate and cigar box an impressive fragrance of fruits and spices. The palate is well structured; full of black and red fruits such as cherries, blackcurrants and prunes with a hint of dark chocolate and fresh tea leaves. The finish is long and fine with velvety tannins.
People used to be snooty about wine from Lebanon, even though there have been vineyards there for 6,000 years. But its reputation spread and people came to love that rich, dark, spicy, leathery, peppery, perfumed wine with aptly, a hint of cedar.
The Musar 2005 is already delicious with all the qualities listed above.
The Spectator February 2012