2016 Château Musar Blanc, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
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ABOUT THIS WINE
The 2016 harvest showed without doubt that global warming is causing higher annual temperatures and at the same time, successive years of low rainfall have resulted in drier soils. We were therefore thankful for a good amount of rainfall in the first few months of the year and much needed snow in January which was hugely welcomed by the dry terrain. This year was warm with an average night temperature of + 5 degrees Celsius compared to the -5 in the previous April. The ancient Obaideh and Merwah varieites that make up the Chateau Musar White are grown at high altitude (1200-1400 metres above sea level) and avoid the higher temperatures on the Bekaa Valley floor and were harvested on the 20th September (Obaideh) and 1st October for the Merwah. Obaideh was tasty, fresh and full of fragrance with Merwah, full of rich citrus notes – a great combination of our two indigenous grapes.
The Merwah was fermented and aged in new Nevers oak barrels for 9 months on the lees and the Obaideh was fermented in stainless steel vats, two different fermentation methods to match the two different grape characteristics. Fermentation temperatures for both ranged between 19-23˚C and malo-lactic fermentation went smoothly. It was blended and bottled in the summer of 2017 following cold stabilisation and the vintage released in 2022 after 6 years of ageing
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER:
Founded by Gaston Hochar in 1930, Chateau Musar is Lebanon's premier estate. This 371 acre property is located in the Bekaa Valley, 15 miles north of Beirut in Ghazir. The Houchars cultivate indigenous and international varietals – Cinsault, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Grenache as well as Obaideh (a native of Chardonnay), Merwah (a native variant of Semillon), Chardonnay, Viognier and Vermentino. The vineyards are planted on a limestone bed with gravelly top soils and are certified organic by the Mediterranean Institute of Certification (IMC). The white vines are 100–150 years old and planted at 4,000 feet, the reds at 3,280 feet. The altitude and the Mediterranean climate serve to lengthen the ripening process which helps produce fruit of superior quality.