Monday, 3 September 2012

Medal-winning Musar

By Andy Wadsworth
Wine Sales Advisor

Like millions around the country, I’ve been glued to the television watching incredible sporting events during the Olympics.  The Olympics isn’t just about sport, it is an affirmation of our humanity. Many sports men and women overcame major physical, political and religious challenges to compete in the London Games. It’s inspiring.

Consider Oscar Pistorius, “The Blade Runner”, a South African double-leg amputee, who ran the 400 metres in a staggering 45.44 seconds. In a recent interview Pistorius said “A loser isn’t the person who gets involved and finishes last. A loser is the person who doesn’t get involved in the first place.”  Pistorius’ triumph is shared by everyone; it encourages us to be who we truly are.

The wine industry is also not without its heroes - people who, like many Olympians, have overcome remarkable odds to achieve their dreams. Serge Hochar of Chateau Musar had his own challenge to overcome in viticulture.  His father had established a major winery in ancient vineyards located 15 miles north of Beirut, Lebanon. But, just as the vines came into full maturation, the region was ravaged by civil war.

In the 1983 growing season, Serge had to be smuggled in by boat in the dead of night so that he could tend his vines. In the late 1980’s, although that particular danger had passed, there was a new one – bombs. The Chateau, situated in the Bekaa Valley, was close enough to Beirut to endure frequent shelling, and the cellars doubled as bomb shelters for the local villagers.
Today, Chateau Musar is a multi medal-winning estate internationally regarded for producing some of the world’s finest wines. Made principally from Cabernet Sauvignon, their Grand Vin must mature for at least 10 years in the bottle for optimum drinking. It is truly one of the most precious and unique wines available today from a region first put under vine by the Phoenicians. It’s inspiring.

Wine Highlight:
Chateau Musar 2002 Bekaa Valley, Lebanon - £23.99
After four successive years of drought the 2002 vintage is widely regarded as one of Chateau Musar’s best for Cabernet Sauvignon – the key component in their impressively unique wines. Chateau Musar 2002 underwent a long, slow fermentation polished off by maturation, for one year, in French Nevers oak barrels. The wine, now starting to reach its full potential, shows intensely complex spicy red fruits and cedar aromas. The palate has immense power punctuated by generous plum, damson and red and black fruit flavours. The finish is long and spectacular featuring Christmas cake, spices, figs and dates. Without doubt one of the finest vintages in living memory, eminently enjoyable now and over the next five years.

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