Though Middle Eastern wine is something of a novelty in the U.S., wine is nothing new to this area; the cultivation of the vine goes back to the Phoenicians, who did a brisk business trading their wares along the Mediterranean Sea ports, introducing viniculture into many parts of southern Europe. Perhaps the oldest running wine concern in the region, Chateau Musar has been making fine wine 15 miles north of Beirut since 1930! These are reds of great character and subtlety, decidedly Old World in style. The grapes are hand-picked as the sun rises across the Bekaa valley and are then swiftly transferred to the cellar in Ghazir where fermentation takes place followed by maceration lasting 2 to 4 weeks. The 2013 is equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, and Carignan aged in French Nevers oak barrels for one year... bottled in 2016 and released in 2020. Notes from the estate: "The 2013 harvest at Chateau Musar could be summarised in one word – elegance. A dense deep red with our characteristic sweet/savoury/spicy blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tastings from the vats in the winter of 2013, revealed elegance and roundness with a spice-dominant palate – liquorice, clove, cinnamon with a warm coulis of red fruits. There are raspberries and blueberries on the palate, this is an elegant vintage, integrated and balanced with fine tannin. No sense of Cabernet Sauvignon here, a more Cinsault dominated vintage with softer red fruits."
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