2010 was the year of the heatwave which lasted for 23 days from the 10th July, although our indigenous white varieties, Obaideh and Merwah were less affected by the intense heat as the microclimate of the Lebanese mountains resisted the heat far better than the Bekaa Valley.
Obaideh 60% Merwah 40% Vineyard Region Bekaa Valley|
Normally Obaideh reaches higher alcohol than the Merwah but they balance each other, this year in 2010, both reached lower alcohol levels, Merwah 11.5% and when it has lower alcohol than normal (12/12.5%) it tends to dominate the Obaideh, so even though it is only 40% of the blend, it dominates this wine.
A guide to the style
In their youth: yellow-gold, subtly oaky, and creamy-textured, rich yet dry and intensely citrusy, with honeyed nuances. Wholly unique, the style has been described as resembling ‘dry Sauternes’ or mature white Graves. Chateau Musar Whites develop tawny hues and mellow spicy characters as they age. The cellars at Ghazir holds bottles of this wine dating as far back as 1954.
Grapes and vines
Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar White is a blend of ancient grape varieties Obaideh and Merwah, indigenous to the mountains of Lebanon and said to be related to Chasselas Chardonnay and Semillon. 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: 10 – 20 hl per hectare. At high altitude (around 1400m) they are still on their own roots, among very few vineyards in the world of this calibre.
Chateau Musar White is fermented in French oak barriques (from the forest of Nevers) for 9 months, bottled and blended at the end of its first year and released seven years after the harvest.