Another month of lockdown slips by. I’ll be missing the sociability of comparing several wines connected by a theme, and learning as we go, for a while yet.
We opened a bottle of Chateau Musar 2000 the other evening. “Eccentric wines, which have baffled and bewitched,” as Pierre Mansour of the Wine Society has described the wines, from one of the great red wine producers of the world. One of my favourite wines, although not to everyone’s taste.
The 2000 vintage of Chateau Musar is a blend of approximately equal shares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan.
Gaston Hochar recommends decanting all the wines, to aerate them, and to remove sediment and avoid a cloudy wine in the glass. They are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The advice is to have the bottles vertical for 24 hours before opening, to allow the sediment to settle.
Whatever the age, they need oxygen to show. The wine develops in the glass and will taste different (and increasingly delicious) over the course of a few hours. Some bottles of older vintages will have a smell of cabbage, mushroom or mustiness on opening (this one did), which will disappear after five minutes.
This wine showed complex aromas and flavours. On the nose was an earthiness with notes of leather, prunes and black olives. On the palate, there was good acidity, silky tannins, plums and dried fruit, with a long finish. It is soft, mature and delectable.
London Branch has held wonderful Chateau Musar tastings, organised by the late Carole Goldberg. In 2006 Serge Hochar led the tasting of nine wines, and in 2015, Gaston Hochar led the tasting of eleven wines.
Looking to the future, when we are all safely allowed out, let’s hope for another such tasting.
© Rachel Burnett