1999 Chateau Musar Rouge, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

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1999 was an exceptional year. A mild winter with very little rainfall was followed by usual spring weather. The summer was also mild, with a cloudy July and August preceding a hot and sunny September. The resultant grapes reached maximum maturity with great all around concentration, displaying good acidity and a high sugar level. The Musar Reds are made with three grape varieties, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, all of which are grown around three wine villages, Ammiq, Aana and Kefrava, made even more complicated by the diversity of soils from rich to rocky, which with vintage variations, necessitate the sort of juggling act at which Serge Hochar is a supreme performer. Fermentation took place in cement vats with maceration periods of up to four weeks, and then the wine was aged for one year in French Nevers oak. It was blended at the end of it's second year(August 2001) and bottled in the summer of 2002.