Wine Advocate 91 points - The 2001 CHATEAU MUSAR, bottled in 2004, is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan, aged for one year in French oak. Nuanced by cherries and spice, it is quite delicious. Which wine you like better of this lineup-the 01 or 00, or even the 02 Hochar, is a matter of taste, perhaps, more than any inherent quality issue, as the styles are rather different. The ’00 is the powerhouse bruiser, the most rustic, while the Hochar is the approachable, easier wine. This is the one in the middle, arguably the best balance of fruit and power. On the downside, this is as gamey and funky as the 2000, but the balance is different, the wine seeming fruitier and fleshier, not quite as austere. Depending on your taste, you may find that a good thing, or prefer the more powerful and intellectual 2000. This is still powerful, I hasten to add, with drying notes on the finish, but the fruitiness melds beautifully with the barnyard notes, and it is nicely supported by the tannin rather than overwhelmed. As with the 2000, this should age well, although the 2000 should age longer, and this will be a wine some will love, and some will find has too much barnyard. Personally, I enjoyed it a lot, and was just imagining how it would work with venison. Drink now-2020. (Feb 2010)
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.