Chateau Musar White is a truly unique white, made from ancient Lebanese varieties Obaideh and Merwah, dating back thousands of years. Reputedly, the ancestors of Chardonnay/Chasselas 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 Chateau Musar White 2008 is an immensely appealing honey colour with a nose and palate of orange blossom, honey, toasted bread, almonds and basil. A very well balanced wine with good fresh lemon acidity and a long finish of citrus leaves, vanilla and honey. It is rich and concentrated but still elegant and subtle about its richness.
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: duck and spicy Asian dishes, goat cheese, baked apple pie/tarte tatin.