The 2016 has a very pale salmon colour which belies the complex aromas and flavours within; hints of spice, rosewater, citrus and a little red fruit lead to flavours of quince, almond and subtle vanilla from the oak ageing. The wine has a textural weight and body which finishes with a saline minerality. The freshness and youth in this 2016 vintage lends a vibrant acidity to balance the unexpected richness and complexity of the wine, though both will develop with time and integrate seamlessly with the oak element and enhancing the experience. An ideal aperitif wine, though also suited to seafood, charcuterie and washed-rind cheeses.
Chateau Musar Rosé is a still and softly-oaked tribute to the ‘blended’ rosés of Champagne, a style much enjoyed by Serge Hochar. It is not made every year as specific grape qualities are required to ensure the varieties combine in elegant form.
In their youth, the wines are salmon pink in color, smooth, well-balanced and velvety-textured, with aromas and flavors of peaches, pears, oranges, grapefruit, almonds, wild herbs, and citrus leaves. They develop mellow, spicy notes and tawny hues as they age.
Grapes and vines
The main components are Obaideh and Merwah, indigenous to the mountains of Lebanon and said to be related to Chardonnay and Semillon. Planted between 1920 and 1947 the Obaideh vineyards are in the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountains on stony, chalky soils, while the Merwah vines are on the seaward side of Mount Lebanon on calcareous gravels. Yields are very low for these untrained bushvines: 15 to 25 hl per hectare. At high altitude (around 1400m) they are still on their own roots, among very few vineyards in the world of this caliber. Around 5% of southern red Rhône grape Cinsault gives the wine its subtle color.
Fermented and aged for 6 to 9 months in French oak barrels from the forest of Nevers, the wines are bottled a year after the harvest and released for sale two years later. Just as in Champagne, a small amount of red wine is blended with white to create this delicate, yet complex and age-worthy still rosé wine. The Chateau Musar Rosé was originally conceived in 1994 by the late Serge Hochar as a tribute to his love for the great rosés of Champagne. Chateau Musar Rosé uses low yielding, ancient indigenous varietals Merwah (40%) and Obaideh (57%) as a base wine. These grapes are grown at 1200-1400 meters above sea level in the Mount Lebanon and Anti Lebanon ranges from old vines on their original rootstocks. The last of our grapes to be harvested in October, the Merwah and Obaideh are both barrel fermented and aged in French oak for 9 months, with a small proportion of red Cinsault wine (3%) – the grapes are mixed in the press before fermentation.