£11, Booths supermarkets; £12.50–£14.95, many independents*
This is Chateau Musar's third red wine, a fruity, unoaked blend of Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon (50:35:15 in the 2019 vintage) designed to be drunk young and to be an introduction to the more serious, long-lived, oak-aged Musar reds, Chateau Musar itself and Hochar Père et Fils (which you can also find labelled Aana, the village where the grapes are grown).
Musar Jeune Red doesn't need decanting or ageing – just pull the cork and go – but it's far from being simple or a lightweight. The deep purple colour opens on to a soft textured palate with layers of vibrant red and black berries, sweet spice, leather, graphite, wild herbs and peppery freshness. A serving temperature of 16–17ºC works well, but you could serve it cooler.
Although intended to be enjoyed young, the 2019 – organic, vegan and unfiltered, as usual – could be cellared for another five years. In fact, it was an unusual, wetter, cooler growing season, but that was a relief after years of drought and it produced concentrated flavours.
The approach to winemaking is typically hands-off. Fermentation and ageing took place in concrete vats, with blending in March 2020. Bottling was in summer 2020, without fining or filtration, and the wine was released in spring this year.
It's a food-friendly red, at ease with foods ranging from pesto and polenta to pork chops, cold haunch of venison, and tarragon-strewn roast vegetables (although the intense sweetness and spice of cumin-roasted carrots were a bit much for it on their own). It would also be good with lamb, and with hard cheeses. 13.5%.
Musar Jeune Red 2019, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
*£12.50–£14.95, York Wines, Vinvm, Mr Wheeler, Virgin Wines, de Burgh Wine, Monty Wines, Eton Vintners, Bon Coeur Fine Wines, Wine & Greene, Noble Green Wines, Jeroboams
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