'96 & '98 Musar side by side

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Kirk.Grant
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'96 & '98 Musar side by side

#1 Post by Kirk.Grant » January 20th, 2019, 8:51 am

We had a small gathering...and thought that it was time to check-in on the 96 & 96 based on my last tasting of these two in 2015.
  • 1996 Chateau Musar - Lebanon, Bekaa Valley (1/19/2019)
    This was never a strong vintage for Musar...It's bricked at the core leading out to a tawny rim. The nose smells "sweet", like someone rolled old strawberries in turbinado sugar, mushrooms, molasses, and old/stale clove cigarettes. The palate is the only saving grace with this wine...while its not as upsetting as the nose, it still tastes old, almost like tasting the evolution of something that's decaying in real time. Tastes of bruised Strawberries, old blueberries, and fresh clove and spice. It's so interesting and unlike anything else I've encountered. I can't say that I'm not enjoying it, but I'd say it's more a cerebral interest than enjoyable flavors. If you have some of these...I'd open one now. I can't imagine where this will go with time, but I'm glad this is my last bottle as I don't expect it will bring pleasure or interest for too long.
    Image
Posted from CellarTracker
  • 1998 Chateau Musar - Lebanon, Bekaa Valley (1/19/2019)
    This pours bricked red with a ruby core; served in a Zalto Universal Glass. On the nose it's full of florals, earth, mushrooms, oil-stained concrete floors, and well-worn leather with an underpinning of dried red fruits. The palate is light-medium bodied, with something that reminds me of aging (like when they're not quite gone-by) wild strawberries, raspberries, orange rind, chewing tobacco, and clove. A friend of mine said that the tannins felt fully-resolved to him when he had this a few weeks ago, and I think I'm going to have to agree. It's hard to see this wine getting any better at this point in its life. Yet another lovely wine of contemplation that will demand all evening to really understand. Outstanding!!
    Image
Posted from CellarTracker
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Doug Lee
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#2 Post by Doug Lee » January 20th, 2019, 9:18 am

Kirk,

This is very cool. Nice notes. I opened the 2000 last night (see separate thread) and it was terrific. Glad to see this producer getting a bit more coverage.

Cheers,
Doug

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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#3 Post by Kirk.Grant » January 20th, 2019, 9:51 am

Doug Lee wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 9:18 am
Kirk,

This is very cool. Nice notes. I opened the 2000 last night (see separate thread) and it was terrific. Glad to see this producer getting a bit more coverage.

Cheers,
Doug
Doug, I've been a "true believer" of Musar for a little over a decade now...for me they define what I look for in wine, offering a singular expression, something that changes and offered increased complexity with patience and time sideways, and something that is impossible to replicate anywhere else. If you haven't had the 1995...it's a vintage that is well worth seeking out. Loved seeing your notes on the 2000...yet another great wine there. If you can, stock up on the 2001, 2004, & 2008's each of these seem to be worth setting sideways.
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Claus Jeppesen
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#4 Post by Claus Jeppesen » April 15th, 2019, 8:15 am

I have enjoyed the 1999 a bit lately and thought I would try this one too. It is still priced @ approx 40$ champagne.gif
The Musar corks are very soft, aren´t they? An Ah So was required
The wine needed a few hours to come through
It is an awesome fluid. Extraordinary nose with a mixture of fresh and very mature notes. The taste is addictive. More mature than 1999 and maybe not able to last as long. But now: incredible value
musar.jpg
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Rajiv Ayyangar
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#5 Post by Rajiv Ayyangar » April 16th, 2019, 6:13 pm

My notes on the '98 from last year:
1998 Chateau Musar This had a very short decant - just an hour as it was opened at the restaurant. It sang out as well as could be expected under the circumstances.

Classic Musarian nose - showing spicy dog fur (brett), bruised apple, balsamic, ethyl acetate, dried flowers. The fruit character is lighter black cherry and tart raspberry - consistent with my impression in the past that this is a more Burgundian style. However there was a hint of tertiary cassis - a tamari-blackberry note that's characteristic of mature Musar. The tertiary character seems to be maturing, and although not forceful right now, it may become so.

After approximately two hours, a darker, smokier, roasted blackberry note emerged - reminiscent of the reductively dark, almost burnt '72.

In the past I've characterized the '98 as a "Beautiful" styled Musar, similar to the 2000 and 2001, in contrast to the "Bold" 99,04,91, the "Atypical" 03,97, or the "Centered" 95, 94. For the '98, this may be merely a fact of its stage of maturity. It may blossom into a different character yet.

The palate was classic Musar: medium all around, with beautiful balance, integration, and length. No structural elements stood out. The tannins were melted and satiny.
I feel like the '98 might keep getting better. Also re: the '96... do you think maybe it will transform with another 5-10 years? I feel like the '94 got really really good recently.
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#6 Post by AD Northup » April 16th, 2019, 7:25 pm

Claus Jeppesen wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 8:15 am
I have enjoyed the 1999 a bit lately and thought I would try this one too. It is still priced @ approx 40$ champagne.gif
The Musar corks are very soft, aren´t they? An Ah So was required
The wine needed a few hours to come through
It is an awesome fluid. Extraordinary nose with a mixture of fresh and very mature notes. The taste is addictive. More mature than 1999 and maybe not able to last as long. But now: incredible valuemusar.jpg
Where is it $40?
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#7 Post by Claus Jeppesen » April 17th, 2019, 4:03 am

AD Northup wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 7:25 pm
Claus Jeppesen wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 8:15 am
I have enjoyed the 1999 a bit lately and thought I would try this one too. It is still priced @ approx 40$ champagne.gif
The Musar corks are very soft, aren´t they? An Ah So was required
The wine needed a few hours to come through
It is an awesome fluid. Extraordinary nose with a mixture of fresh and very mature notes. The taste is addictive. More mature than 1999 and maybe not able to last as long. But now: incredible valuemusar.jpg
Where is it $40?
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=159552&p=2706272&hi ... r#p2702224
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#8 Post by AD Northup » April 17th, 2019, 10:48 am

Claus Jeppesen wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 4:03 am
AD Northup wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 7:25 pm
Claus Jeppesen wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 8:15 am
I have enjoyed the 1999 a bit lately and thought I would try this one too. It is still priced @ approx 40$ champagne.gif
The Musar corks are very soft, aren´t they? An Ah So was required
The wine needed a few hours to come through
It is an awesome fluid. Extraordinary nose with a mixture of fresh and very mature notes. The taste is addictive. More mature than 1999 and maybe not able to last as long. But now: incredible valuemusar.jpg
Where is it $40?
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=159552&p=2706272&hi ... r#p2702224
Thought that may be the case...
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Claus Jeppesen
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#9 Post by Claus Jeppesen » April 17th, 2019, 10:56 am

Kirk.Grant wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 8:51 am
  • 1998 Chateau Musar - Lebanon, Bekaa Valley (1/19/2019)
    This pours bricked red with a ruby core; served in a Zalto Universal Glass. On the nose it's full of florals, earth, mushrooms, oil-stained concrete floors, and well-worn leather with an underpinning of dried red fruits. The palate is light-medium bodied, with something that reminds me of aging (like when they're not quite gone-by) wild strawberries, raspberries, orange rind, chewing tobacco, and clove. A friend of mine said that the tannins felt fully-resolved to him when he had this a few weeks ago, and I think I'm going to have to agree. It's hard to see this wine getting any better at this point in its life. Yet another lovely wine of contemplation that will demand all evening to really understand. Outstanding!!
    Image
Posted from CellarTracker
Kirk I did not thank you really for this poetic and precise note. I am drinking anothe one now and I also taste decayed fruit (and strawberries) and I know there is no reason to worry about keep cellaring these. But what is your view on this?
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#10 Post by Kirk.Grant » April 17th, 2019, 11:08 am

Claus Jeppesen wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 10:56 am

Kirk I did not thank you really for this poetic and precise note. I am drinking anothe one now and I also taste decayed fruit (and strawberries) and I know there is no reason to worry about keep cellaring these. But what is your view on this?
Claus,

I think that these are wines that survive when others fall apart. So I do think this could last longer in the cellar but I don't think it's getting better. I never had the chance to track the life of Musar from the 80's like I have from the 90's. It would be interesting to see where this wine is in another 10 years...but it's really enjoyable now so I'd rather not gamble; especially when I need more space. I gave my last bottle of '98 to a friend that I know also loves Musar and will be interested in his thoughts when he decides to pull the cork.
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#11 Post by Claus Jeppesen » April 17th, 2019, 11:29 am

I am not worried, when the Chateau releases bottles like this:
musar1.PNG
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Re: '96 & '98 Musar side by side

#12 Post by Kirk.Grant » April 17th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Not too old...just different.
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