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Bekaa call

[musar blanc]Hochar “Chateau Musar” 1995 Blanc (Bekaa Valley) — Long before natural wines brought endless weirdness to the glass, there was Musar Blanc: the most unreliably odd wine in general circulation. In a modern context it almost seems tame, yet push deeper and all the strange fresh/stale, young/old, rich/snappish contradictions are there. It’s a big, stone-fruited wine without much actual stone fruit. I kinda love it, but then again I usually do. Mature? Who the hell knows? (4/16)

Bekaa call

Hochar “Château Musar” 2001 Red (Bekaa Valley) – Opening Musar and finding only a small handful of flaws is like winning the lottery, albeit with a payoff in swampwater currency. But other than the most fundamentalist natural wine cultists, who will excuse just about anything, I doubt anyone would give this a second thought were the underlying material not so appealing in the face of, and often despite, those flaws. Still, it’s not a wine for everyone even in the best of conditions, and at our table of three there’s one who adores it (me), one who expressed surprised approval, and one who outright rejects it as being more or less undrinkable. Such is the Musar experience. This bottle, with its reasonably-restrained brett and tolerable volatile acidity (a VA-phobe is saying this, mind), shows that not-mature/full-mature blend of berries and roasted things that’s more or less the Musar signature, with a bracing slap of tannin and a juicily crisp finish. Will it age? Probably. It usually does, and this seems to have the structure for it. But it’s only going to get weirder. (10/11)


Musar 2009 “Jeune” (Bekaa Valley) – 60% cinsault, 20% syrah, 20% cabernet sauvignon. To the extant that there’s Musar-ishness here, it’s in the minor dalliances with brett and volatile acidity. But mostly, this is just sun-roasted fruit, not overdriven but fairly pleasant. A little paint-like on the finish. The wine’s just OK. (8/11)

Age is Bekaa-ning

Chateau Musar 2001 “Hochar” (Bekaa Valley) – Tastes twenty years old, and not in a good way. The well-known Musar bottle (more likely cork) variation strikes again. (10/08)