It’s Thanksgiving and I am pouring this Cabernet Sauvignon. But here’s the kicker, this wine is so unique that it doesn’t even look like a Cab. Blended with Cinsault and Carignan it always shows a very pale reddish orange hue in the glass. It looks like aged Burgundy. The nose is as expected- full of earth, stewed cherry, forest floor, strawberry, red licorice, pomegranate, dried cranberry, meaty, farmyard….. Wow. The palate is super smooth. Slightly tart, it has very fine-grained tannins and complex flavors of red fruit, oaky notes of toast and layers of tertiary flavors like farmyard, stewed fruit, dried fruit and meat. The body is light to medium and the finish is long. Another spectacular bottle of Lebanese decadence that will drink well forever. The last ’98 Musar I had was in Magnum, this one a bit more developed but showing no signs of throttling back. Read about my last tasting here. This truly is a remarkable wine that gets 94 points. At $80 it is a 5 star treat. Salut….
For my wine class- a Southern France blend.
Appearance- Medium ruby with thin legs.
Nose- Medium (+) intensity with aromas of blackberry, black plum, raspberry, toast, licorice, game and is developing.
Palate- Dry, medium acidity, medium (+) tannins, high alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) flavors of blackberry, black plum, raspberry, charred wood and licorice. Medium finish.
Conclusions- very good quality wine that can be drunk now and has potential for aging.
A delicious, rustic blend of 40% Old Vine (70 yrs) Carignan, 30% Syrah and 30% Grenache. Very tannic and I could feel the alcohol, needs a juicy Ribeye. For $30 it gets 5 stars cause I really like it and give it 92 points. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Our second wine of the 16th virtual wine tasting gave me pause in deciding it’s drinking order. I originally wanted to showcase this icon as the finale of our session, but after careful consideration felt it was best to go before the younger, bolder wines- it was a good call.
Chateau Musar at pretty much any age will have an orange tinge, or bricking. It’s also usually about 50% opaque. This blend of Carignan, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon never looks brooding in the glass. I asked the group for their comments when we started smelling the wine. “Heaven” was the first I heard- very appropriate. We also noted strawberry, leather, black pepper (?), cured meat, garrigue, black cherry, funk, barnyard, new-purse leather, dirt, smoke and earth. These are awesome descriptors from the group, yet I still feel we have missed out on some more. The nose was amazing.
On the palate this beauty is deceiving- delicate, yet powerful. Flavors of cracked pepper, cherry, leather, spice, raspberry jelly and baked cherry compote. The smoothness of this wine is above reproach. The tannins so well integrated and the gobs of acidity so well disguised. I think the gaminess and dried prune notes were my highlight. I was so happy to have been able to present this tremendous wine to my friends, who for the most part loved it. I awarded a perfect 20 points on the tasting scale. Technically speaking, it gets 95 real points and at $75, five stars. I would imagine this one has a long tasting window but make sure you have a two-pronged wine opener, the corks gave issue to several bottles. Salut….
As I was ready to check out at my local wine shop I saw this lone bottle with an interesting label. It was on clearance for $13, but the reason I bought it was the name. Moxie and I at one point in our life owned a store with a very similar name. I thought it appropriate to at least give this blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre a try.
It has a somewhat murky edge to it in the glass and shows a touch of bricking. On the nose it is still lively with raspberry, pomegranate and charred cedar notes. The palate is rich and spicy. There is a shot of red fruit alongside some very crispy tannins and a hint of acidity. The mid palate is dry and offers me another taste of red currants, pomegranate and raspberry. The acidity really kicks in on the finish with quick some vigor. The well resolved tannins are surprisingly still evident and I get lots of fruit from this rather basic wine. I would have thought it over the hill by now but it is charming, interesting and still fresh. I am going with 87 points but would drink sooner rather than later. Not much will evolve from here on in. 4 stars are warranted. Pair it with burgers, spaghetti Bolognese or even some grilled meat. Salut….
I bought two Magnums of the 1998 vintage from the winery, back in 2009. This particular bottle was opened for a Middle Eastern themed dinner of Meze and Shish Kebabs. Being a huge fan of Chateau Musar, I could hardly contain myself. My cellaring proved worthwhile.
Semi opaque with a touch of orange bricking which I see on every bottle I have drunk, regardless of age. On the nose- classic Musar. Cherry reduction, cinnamon, integrated oak, spice box and dried cranberry. On the palate it is super smooth, with red fruit compote, cherry and tobacco. The mid palate is really juicy with nice acidity. A faint note of super integrated tannins are evident. This 22 year old wine is still young. The finish is long, with cranberries, more cherry and complex flavors melding. I find that Musar has a consistent flavor reminiscent of Brettanomyces (Brett), which gives it a peculiar barnyard note. It is controlled and in such a low dose that it adds flavor, complexity and signature to this iconic brand. I am giving this wine 94 points, drink till 2040. Found online for $80, it’s a 5 star wine that you really should look for. Spectacular, but not to everyone’s taste. The Cinsault dominates the flavors, with Cab Sav and Carignan supporting. Shish Kebabs are an obvious pairing! Salut….
Good blackish color. The nose is smoky, meaty and has hints of fig and charcoal. This 50% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and 20% Carignan blend is right up my alley. The nose leads me to a delightful palate of blackberry, more charcoal, some tar and really tight tannins. The mid palate concentrates on the fruit with tasty blackberries and some currant. The tannins are ever-present but not overpowering, they caress instead of attack. There is a juicy acidity towards the finish that reveals a touch of wood. The oak is nicely integrated and gives a touch of vanilla. The finish is medium length and really tasty. I’m digging this wine- 91 points and 5 stars for this $15 effort. I’m pairing it with Bacon Alfredo and it’s on pointe. Salut….
For my birthday celebration, I pulled out two magnums, one of which was the ’96 Musar, I hand carried it from the winery many years ago. I have two bottles of the ’98 waiting but in the meantime….Super pale red- see through, reminiscent of Pinot which it’s not with a touch of orange bricking. On the nose it’s stupendous, like aged Bordeaux. Leather, tobacco, plum and cassis- all my favorites. On the palate it is so smooth, with hints of cassis, cedar box, more tobacco and forest floor. There’s so much going on it’s amazing. Towards the mid palate I get cherry, faint tannins and a perfectly balanced acidity. The finish is awesome. So sleek with cherry juice reduction and a slightly biting rhubarb component. 93 points and 4 stars for this $75 wine. It’s not for everyone, the style is different but for this boy- it hits the right notes. Drink till 2030. Salut….
By far the most interesting label of the year- a metallic one on this bottle of Fitou. I was intrigued and had to try it. Fitou is a region in the Languedoc, southern France and the two main grapes are Grenache and Carignan.
The wine is a medium shade of purple and offers a nose of garrigue, funk and black cherry. This may sound horrible to the layman but in wine terms, quite legitimate descriptors and ones that are sought after by certain palates. On the initial attack I am getting a somewhat thin veil of plums but more importantly, some off-putting tannins. The wine is a bit disjointed and the balance is off. It may need some time or a trip through the vinturi (Or in my case, a travel aerator).
Ok, after meeting my friend Bendy, the wine mellows a little but the tannins are still green and generally unpleasant. The fruit is struggling for acceptance here and the structure is not allowing it to happen. I am wondering if I have an off bottle. Best I can go is 85 points at this tasting and for $16 this is a 2 star wine. Happy New Year! Salut….
From Spain’s Rioja came this blend of Carignan, Grenache and Tempranillo that I had a hard time with. The pro’s were all over the map with scores ranging from 90 down to 82. I paid $13 for it but found it for $10 elsewhere.
Nose of earth and blue fruits with some hint of oak. Atypical for Rioja- muted flavors of blueberry and bramble. Slightly rough tannins but good acidity seem to balance out in the end with a very muted finish overshadowed by the tannic frame. 86 points from me and 2 stars. I think one merits another look as it may be bottle variation. How is it possible to have such varied impression from others I wonder. I will look for it in the future and report back. Salut….
I have sampled Orin Swift’s The Prisoner and am familiar with their full on style. Heady and high in alcohol with great extraction. This wine is no different. It all began with a rich dark purple hue in the glass. Wild flowers, blackberries, earth and plum come across on the nose. Violets and plums with layers of dark fruit compote and an earthy component attack the palate full bore. I loved the very smooth mouthfeel that hides the whopping 15.2% alcohol. Melded tannins and a balanced acidity contribute to the silkiness. This wine is made from Grenache, Syrah and Carignan from the Catalan region. Terroir of the French countryside is evident. Old world in fruit yet New world in extraction and style. It finishes with a touch of cinnamon and blueberry pie. 2014-2020 would be my guess for a drinking window. I give it 92 points and for $33 it deserves 5 stars. Deeeelish. Salut…..