Tomas Clancy reviews Chateau Musar, Blanc, Lebanon 2007 and Longview Yakka Shiraz, Adelaide Hills, Australia 2015
Chateau Musar, Blanc, Lebanon 2007
Pricing : €48.95
Available : The Corkscrew, Dublin 2 and good independent Off Licences and wine shops nationwide
This is one of the most fascinating and ancient wines from one of the world’s most storied and mythical wineries, Lebanon’s Chateau Musar whose vines are found in a world historical hotspot squeezed between Syria and Israel. The Bekka Vallley, where the vineyards are located has been a place where grapes have been grown for over 3500 years.
Most of the world might know it better by its Biblical name, Cana. As in the Feast at Cana, where we find one of humanity’s first wine criticism when at the wedding feast of Cana, Jesus on the urging if his mother Mary helps out a wedding couple as the party moves into its third day and the wine, presumably locally sourced begins to run out. Jesus creates wine out of water, a miracle that begins his ministry.
For wine lovers it is the comments of the other guests who ask why are you serving the good wine last , implicitly critiquing the previous wines.
Well this wine is made from two vastly ancient grapes, which give us a window onto history. The two local grapes are Obadiah which is fres and citrus like and Merwah, which is richer, buttery and more Chardonnay like. This second grape was aged here in oak adding to its toasty feel,
This is a wine that will age over years and is never released until it reaches a level of maturity most other white wines can only dream of today. This is a pure expression of bright fruits, the has an ancient, direct feel of the grape skin, a rarity to look out for and enjoy in a celebratory occasion, maybe as a fascinating wedding wine too if that is not overly irreverent.
Longview Yakka Shiraz, Adelaide Hills, Australia 2015
Pricing : €14.95 down from 19.95
Available : Widely available nationwide from O’Briens Wines stores and online at obrienswine.ie
Like the music of the Beatles or Beethoven there does a point when somehow genius is so taken fir granted after in has become universal that the worst thing happens and it gets overlooked , ignored or snobbishly it becomes deeply unfashionable to admit to liking or believing this popular brilliance can really be genius.
We seem to believe something can only be genius flowering if it is not quite unpopular, but at least not too popular then.
In wine this brings us to Australian Shiraz, which became too popular, to successful, too loved for its own good and the backlash, which we are in the middle of has sent a wave of wine lovers off to examine Tempranillo, Malbec, Petit Sarah, Cabernet Franc, Nero D’Avola and a myriad other grapes which are all superb and this exploration has enriched the palate and wine shelves of Irish wine lovers, but, I think it’s time to Give Shiraz A Chance, again and this fabulous spicy, cracked black pepper delight might tempt people back to Shiraz.
It’s made by two brothers Peter and Mark Saturn and is in the newer, a little less raucous style and so if the last Shiraz you tasted was a 15% monster, this at a very attractive sale price might bring back a wave of interest in Next Gen Shiraz like this well made balanced treat.