Chateau Musar 1998
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The winter preceding the 1998 harvest was a normal Lebanese winter – a mixture of cold, rainy and snowy weather with
several weeks of sunshine. This was followed by a cold, wet spring which lasted until June. Summer followed its normal
pattern, although from June until October there was no rain at all.
The harvest started on the 9th September with mixed maturity levels: some grapes were already quite mature, whilst we
delayed harvesting others for up to two more weeks. There was no obvious reason for this diversity, but this is “les
caprices de la nature”. The crop was good in terms of both quality and quantity – the grapes were healthy and very good
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan
Fermentation progressed smoothly, although slightly quicker than usual, maceration was up to four weeks. The wines
were racked into French Nevers oak casks in August 1999 and aged for twelve months, then blended in September 2000
and bottled in August 2001.
Tarek said: ‘Let’s bottle at the end of the second year. Let’s try!’ We did 20,000 bottles like this, then the rest a year later, as usual. We
tasted the wines four years later. Something was missing in the earlier-bottled wines. They had an obvious Chateau Musar character
but were not necessarily better. Identity is permanently important. We went back to the original formula – Serge Hochar
The cooler 1998 has an elegant Cinsault dominance; the colour is lighter and more delicately perfumed than a typical
vintage. Despite this initial impression, the wine is deceptively powerful with a vibrant acidity and fresh, soft red fruit
flavours and a very long, spicy finish. The ideal partner to mushroom and game dishes.