Wine Advocate 91 points - The 2004 Chateau Musar is an equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault. This is a rather civilized, laid back Musar. The complicated aging process is best described by the winery: “The wines spent nine months in cement vats and then a year in French Nevers oak barrels and the final blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan rested for another nine months in vats before being bottled?“ The winery describes this as a once-in-a-decade vintage where a heat wave caused notable increases in sugar content in a short time. I sometimes find that is a dangerous description of vineyard conditions with many risks for a winery, but it seems to have turned out well. If you’re comparing, it adds two layers of depth to the 2007 Hochar, although it is quite elegant and graceful in its own right. Most importantly, it has more of an obvious backbone even though it is late-released. Its balance, combining the nice fruit, elegant mid-palate, persistent finish and backbone, gives it a tightly wound, precise and focused demeanor. The tannins are not completely integrated, but not overly hard. They provided some welcome grip and vibrancy and never overwhelmed the wine. In the long run, they should serve this wine in good stead. Overall, it is an exceptionally graceful, somewhat modern and restrained Musar, bright, with that silky texture I saw in the Hochar reviewed this issue, while adding those layers of concentration. The cherry on top is the intensity of fruit flavor - bursts of delicious and juicy fruit on the finish, admittedly nuanced by some of the gamey notes I see here so often. Call it raspberry flavored, though, because the fruit is delicious. The gamey notes were in fact moderate and, at least for my taste, not an issue. As this rather subtle Musar aired out, I liked it more and more. I’ve had Musars that were bigger, burlier, more rustic and more astringent. Here, the subtle start was unremarkable, but it gathered steam, showed remarkable finesse and then won me over. This will certainly do better with food. Drink now-2021. (Dec 2012)
It is when the grapes reach optimal maturity, typically between the 5th and the 15th of september, that the harvest begins at Château Musar. The grapes are handpicked as the sun rises across the Bekaa valley and are then swiftly transferred to the cellar in Ghazir where fermentation takes place followed by maceration lasting 2 to 4 weeks. During the first year the wine is racked into Bordeaux type barrels made from Nevers oak and where it matures from 12 to 15 months. Our philosophy of respect for nature and ecology is the reason for which our wines are neither fined nor filtered and receive no chemical additives with the exception of the minimum necessary dose of sulphur. At the end of the second year blending takes place with the proportions of cabernet sauvignon, carignan and cinsault varying with each vintage, the only deciding factor being taste. During the third year bottling takes place after which the wine is allowed to rest 3 to 4 years in our cellars before release. To best appreciate the subtlety and complexity of Château Musar red we suggest decanting between 30 minutes and 2 hours before serving. Our wines, in particular the older vintages, are keen travelers, yet we suggest you leave them to rest 2 to 4 weeks before serving, and all the while decanting with great care. While Château Musar red is certainly ready to be enjoyed upon release 7 years after vintage, or at the age of discretion, the patient are rewarded as they are exceptional after 15 years of age.