TN: 1998 Chateau Musar (Lebanon, Bekaa Valley)

There are sound bottles of 1994’s out there and I would keep it in the same category as the '95 when the cork is sound. I’ve had about 3-4 cases of the 1994 in the last 10 years…and I’d say of those maybe only 6-9 bottles were negatively impacted by the faulty cork…some which had no right to be amazing were. I had a bottle that had leaked down to half way through the label when it was stood up…and it was haunting. To me…the 1994 belongs in the same realm as the 95…as long as the cork is sound.

Yes, we had the whites after the Reds. None of the Reds showed any VA or enough Brett to concern me. I do know they had been double decanted prior to the tasting.

Had a lovely bottle of this last week at the LT Steakhouse in Miami Beach. It started out quite thin in appearance and quite muted on the nose and a touch astringent on the palate. With a decant and some air, picked up color and moved from quite light to a nice dark cherry color, nose blossomed to that exotic mix of a hint of VA along with exotic spices - kept reminding me of the spices from a wonderful Moroccan lamb tagine (without the lamb). Palate picked up intensity with wonderful spicy dark cherry fruit and nicely balanced acidity. This bottle had many, many good years ahead of it.

The ‘98 has always been a favorite vintage of mine. I’m down to just one bottle…I think the ‘99 will last longer and has more structure…but the 98 is all grace & beauty that seduces you into a lull of bliss and contemplation. I’ve stood up a ‘95 to check in on sometime in the next 6-12 months.

Agree on the '98. I checked in with the '95 maybe too often in the last couple years so I’m going to wait a few more before checking again. Looking forward to your impressions!

I’ve never thought of 2003 as an off-vintage Musar nor have I ever noticed any raisiny characteristics in it - unlike in, say, the recent releases of 2006 and 2009.

However, I’ve now tasted the 2007 enough times to consider it an off vintage. I’ve almost always enjoyed Musar, be it young or old, but 2007 has always been a disappointment, somehow noticeably bitter and otherwise rather underwhelming in style with very disjointed feel. I’m hoping it would get its game together with extended cellaring.