Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan. Chateau Musar is the name of a Lebanese winery in Ghazir, Lebanon. Musar grapes grow in the Bekaa Valley, a fertile sunny valley at an altitude of 1,000 meters, situated 25 miles east of Beirut cradled between two mountain ranges running parallel to Lebanon’s Mediterranean coastline. Vines have been cultivated there for at least 6,000 years. Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar in 1930 inspired by Lebanon’s 6,000-year winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. Musar abounds in contradictions: an ancient vineyard planted with both modern and prehistoric varieties; a natural wine from the Middle East produced for decades by Serge Hochar, a winemaker trained by the great Professor Emile Peynaud at the University of Bordeaux; a wine that has a tremendous following and commercial success, yet the Hochars keep fully half their wine back for themselves (and, occasionally, library releases); and a wine that in the glass is nearly impossible to pin down. Depending on the vintage character and age the red can show the earthy, tarry, brightly acidic character of a great Piedmont wine, or a smoky, gamy Cote-Rotie, or the red cherries of Burgundy. For 2001, the Cinsault is fragrant and fruity but lost some of its color; the Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan were, however, rich, powerful, and fruity with smoky, leathery aromas and deep violet color. This is a gorgeous wine that has hit the perfect level of maturity from one of the great producers of our time.