Chateau Musar White is a truly unique wine, made from ancient Lebanese varieties Obaideh and Merwah, dating back thousands of years. Reputedly, the ancestors of Chardonnay and Semillon, they are among only 6 indigenous grapes still commercially cultivated in Lebanon. The vineyards were planted between 50-90 years ago, at around 1,300 metres above sea level in the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains near Ain Arab on stony, chalky soils, and on the seaward side of Mount Lebanon in Baqaãta, on calcareous gravels. The vines remain phylloxera-free and are still on their own roots. Few vineyards of this calibre and history remain in the world.
The style is reminiscent of a dry Sauternes or a mature white Graves: rich and intensely zesty, with very complex, long-lasting flavours. As such, the wine benefits from decanting and is best served at around 15° C (‘cellar cool’ rather than chilled) with fine foods of similar richness: foie gras, rillettes, roast duck, spicy Asian dishes and goat cheeses.
In 2006 we experienced a most unusual weather pattern, certainly unequalled in 38 years! We had rain and snow throughout January which lasted until mid February – followed by rain in March and April. Humid but mild weather then set in from May through to September, with one very unusual day of rain on the 23rd July. The combination of high levels of humidity and comparatively low temperatures affected maturity and our harvesting was delayed by about 10 days as a result. It was hardly surprising therefore, that we recorded medium alcohol content and high acidity this year.