(2021) The first thing to point out about this new and exclusive listing in Aldi UK, is that it is available online only and is not in stores. It's a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. With a few years under its belt, the colour is still vibrant, the nose deeply-scented with blackcurrant and a very attractive pastille quality, tiny violet notes in the mix. In the mouth it is juicy and sweet, the oak barely perceptible as plush black fruit on the mid-palate gives way to softer tannins and a nicely juicy acidity. It's not particularly long, and the finish feels a touch dilute, but it is very nice wine and a fascinating addition to the UK wine scene having a sub-£10 Lebanese wine in Aldi (online). Watch the video for more information.
(2021) First a caveat that this was only a sample of Musar, delivered to me in a miniaturised bag-in-box type format, which I did not have a chance to open for a few days after it arrived, so notes and scores taken with that caveat please. It's a remarkably dense and deep young Musar, depth of colour with immediately plummy and smooth aromas, a little cherry lift coming through as well as some smoky, tobacco spice. In the mouth the sheer abundance of fruit is almost shocking: masses of ripe berries and plum again, the underpinning of the creamy and cedary oak, smooth, chocolate-dense tannins and very nice, pert acidity. This is a particularly generous and full Musar vintage, and could well be worth more than my modest 92 point score, which I will update when I have a chance to taste from a freshly opened bottle.
(2020) From vines that are over 70 years old, farmed organically at altitude in the Bekaa Valley, Domaine de Tourelles adopt a very much 'hands off' approach with this wine, fermenting with indigenous yeasts in their traditional concrete vats, the wine not seeing any oak. That makes for a deep crimson purple wine with an explosively aromatic nose of crushed black berries, truffle and pepper, the sleek vinous quality also suggesting concentration. In the mouth that holds true: the intensity matched by the ripe cherry, plum and blackberry depth of sweet fruit, tannins like silk and the acid balancing in a very natural and gastronomic way. A lovely wine this, available in many independents - use our wine-searcher link. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Musar famously releases it's wines only when they think they are ready to drink, typically seven years after vintage. So this is the latest release at time of review, a blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon from very old vines grown at over 1,000 metres altitude in the Bekaa Valley. It seems to me to be an outstanding Musar, filled with gently lifted aromatics of kirsch and blackcurrant, all framed by a graphite and cedar notes of serious, savoury and Bordeaux-like character. In the mouth the sweet, ripe fruit is enveloping, but the wine has such fabulous concentration and supple, firm structure at its core, all polished tannins and gastronomic acid-balance, the pure, sweet fruit persisting to the elegant, very long finish. A wonderfully impressive young Musar this, irresistable now, but capable of substantial cellaring too, Musar tending to transition from something like Bordeaux, to something closer to Burgundy, over decades.
(2020) A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, 15% Carignan and 5% Cinsault, this is fermented with native yeasts and made in concrete vats, unflitered and unfined to give what Tourelles describe as "A true expression of the Bekaa Valley." There's an honest, rustic authenicity about it, plum and cherry fruit, damp earth, a suggestion of briar wood and herbs. In the mouth the sweet ripeness of the fruit is striking, a big and bountiful plateful of black cherries and summer berries, but those firm tannins, good juicy acids and a bit of serious, sinewy structure give it some food-friendly heft and probably fair longevity too. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. Quite widely available.
(2019) What a lovely Bordeaux lookalike this is, blending 60% old vines Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, and aged in new French oak. There's a rich, primary black berry fruit density on the nose, but spice and hints of game and cedar too, a lovely hint of tertiary development just starting to creep in. In the mouth espresso backs up the seam of blackcurrant, a tingle of clove spice and very polished tannins give volume, and the acidity is excellent, drawing the wine to a long, fine finish.
(2012) 20,000 bottles. 40% petit Verdot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 30% Syrah. 18 months in oak. Lovely nose: herbal and spicy, lots of pencil shaving and incense. The fruit is bold and fleshy, deliciously sweet and plump, with real weight and roundness on the palate, and the tannins fine and drying, with very nice balance. Delicious wine, beautifully pitched.
(2012) Same blend. Much more focused, tight, pure black fruit without the stewed quality of the 2004: really much deeper, more tightly wound and smaller herb and olive influences in the background. The palate has lovely cool, spicy, tight blackcurrant fruit with great composure, the tannins tighter and very chalky and refined, lovely acids. A terrific wine that has a great future.
(2012) Tight, sinewy, glossy black fruit with tight aromatics, blackcurrant and black cherry, a touch of violet and kirsch. The palate has a soy and umami savour, with a nice balance of sweet-edged fruit and lemony acidity against nicely pitched tannins, perhaps could have just a touch more flesh.
(2012) Lovely spices and exotic incense-like nose, with pepper and spice and a lovely touch of menthol dryness. The fruit is so, pure and intensely cassis focused, but those dry, tobacco, spice and gently earthy notes surrounding it. Delicious long and focused, with really long finish showing delicate nuances and lovely length.