A Pair of Musars

98 opened first, huge bottle-funk but decidedly not corked. Light garnet in the glass, vegetal and roiled with barnyard and slight brett, deemed–initially–well at peak and merely an interesting drink short on hardcore merit. Decided against decanting. Hard tertiary, polished to blah-ness, fun to visit but not much more. 2001 opened to huge dark meaty nose, almost identical color, rife with dark briar, licorice and tobacco. But then, some interesting things started happening.

Over the next two hours, the wines switched places in presentation–both olfactory and on palate. The chubbiness of the 2001 dulled itself down into blasé round fruit, one-dimensional and boring, increasingly singular of nuance–and all headed a dark, dreary direction. The 1998–on the other hand–morphed first to a sweet, dessert-ish sort of fruit, then taking on a more and more intriguing bouquet while the funk settled down.

In the mouth, the real situation presented itself. The cough-syrup of the ’01 translated directly onto the palate as hot, flabby berry and black tea, acid out of proportion, a ground-Vit-C slush in a glass of muddy tincture bereft of fresh fruit and lacking in structure. It continued to fall apart in the glass, quickly taking a back seat to the ’98, falling far behind in ANYTHING you would score a wine on: feeling ridiculously tired and fat and hot and un-fruited. Meanwhile, the ’98 continued to blossom: deep spicy briar running along muddy ruts, eucalyptus and mint, piss-stained leather and dark chocolate, a kind of ethereal patina glowing clove and nutmeg and deep Luxardo bursting through. Ashy and pithy in the finish–the berry still bellowing through–it became easily the wine of the night despite its age. The ’01 cardboard-y and dull, completely avoiding fruit in attack and finish, finally becoming a muddy drain-cleaner; the ’98 charging off with berry and briar, unstoppable in direction and focus: probably at peak, but gorgeous cherry, peach and tapenade sending it off into stellar areas.

1998 CHATEAU MUSAR Red Wine Bekaa Valley Lebanon 13.5
2001 CHATEAU MUSAR Red Wine Bekaa Valley Lebanon 13.5


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