Chateau Musar 1982 & Poggio Salvi Brunello di Montalicino 1979 – tasting old vintages


There is nothing better than when you discover new friends who share the same passion for magic combinations of food and wine.   Last week I felt incredibly honoured to be invited home to such a dinner and today the memories of all these tastes and combinations are still very fresh in my mind. 

The wine selection was first class and what made it extra special was to the two vintage wines that we shared – both of which are now over 40 yrs old and were still in perfect condition.  A huge thank you to Håkon and Lise Fosshaug for this amazing experience and their kind hospitality.

The thing about old vintages, is that the perfect condition of the at 40 yrs of age can never be guaranteed.  Many things happen to a bottle in its lifetime – it might have suffered from heat damage or poor storage, the cork might have failed, or purely that particular bottle was just not capable of the long-haul for an unknown reason.  When you then open two bottles – Chateau Musar 1982, and Brunello di Montalcino 1979 Poggio Salvi are they are both in perfect condition, this is really a cause for celebration!

Chateau Musar is a historic winery established in 1930 by Gaston Hochar. He was inspired by two things – the 6,000 year old history of winemaking in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, and the time he spent in Bordeaux. Passionate about promoting the quality of his wines his legacy soon became world famous. Despite the many challenges of running a winery against all the odds throughout the civil war and even when the winery received a a direct hit in 1989, the Hochar brothers (2nd generation) stood their ground.  Today, the estate is managed by the third generation who continue the quest to produce wines not just of excellent quality but also show individual personality.  The Bekaa valley offers perfect growing conditions being almost completely disease free with long mild summers and just enough rain in the winter.  The red grapes – cabernet sauvignon, cinsault and carignan are all low-yiedling.

Chateau Musar 1982, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Tasting Note:  Slightly opaque pale brick red colour Aromas of sweet cinnamon, tobacco, dried fruits, had a certain warmth to the fruit suggesting its origin. Savoury and quite delicate aromas. Still fresh. On the palate, still showing a good level of acidity, some hints of red fruit (red plums) hanging on in there but more dominated by tertiary aromas of forest floor, cigar box and dried red cherries. Quite a broad palate with soft resolved fine-grained tannins and fairly long with soft coffee notes on the finish. Well-balanced. 14% abv.  Drinking very well now, but given its quite delicate nature, it´s definitely at its peak and fully mature. Drink now within the next year or two.

92pt Winemaking: Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon Cinsault and Carginan. Fermented in concrete tanks with natural yeasts. Aged 12 months in French oak prior to bottling. 1982 is said to be a perfect vintage, but perhaps a little dry.

Villa Poggio Salvi

1979 appears to be the first vintage after Pierluigi Tagliabue purchased the company in the same year. Located on the south side of Montalcino, the south facing slopes combined with refreshing breezes provide optimal ripening conditions to retain acidity.  Today the company has 21 ha of vineyards and Pierluigi and his grandson winemaker Luca Belingardi run the estate together.

Villa Poggio Salvi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 1979, Tuscany, Italy

Tasting Note: Pale brick red with a slightly orange rim. On the nose very savoury and complex with layers of spice, liquorice, lovely earthy forest floor, wet leaves, truffles, dried red fruits (mainly cherries) and leather On the palate: Elegant and distinguished with a firm backbone of lifted acidity, resolved fine-grained tannins give a firm definition to the structure, whilst revealing similar to the nose layers of tertiary aromas of truffles, liquorice, earth forest floor and hints of orange peel.  Lovely savoury texture and a long finish. 13% abv. This wine still has a very good concentration and it´s in its best drinking window but given the acidity, very good structure and depth of concentration of fruit, this may well will still be good for another 5 – 7 yrs. Beautiful wine.

Score: 94pts.  Seems like we have been really lucky with this bottle! Winemaking: 100% Sangiovese Grosso.

Very little information available about the 1979 vintage.  Brunello di Montalcino is recognized as being one of the great wines of the world with an extremely long aging capacity. By law Brunello di Montalcino DOCG must spend at least two years in barrel then rest in bottle for a minimum of 4 months, however it cannot be released to the market for 5 years.  Basically this means that in theory a Brunello can spend 4 years and 8 months in barrel then 4 months in bottle before release although this combination is rarely the case with most wines spending 2 years in barrel +  3 years in bottle prior to release.

Bli med på vinkurs!

  • 07. jan 10:00 - 16:00

    WSET Level 1 in Wine – Lørdag 7 januar 2023

    Heldags vinkurs på en lørdag! WSET Level 1 in Wine, et internasjonalt godkjent nybegynnersvinkurs utviklet for personer uten formell eller profesjonell kunnskap om vin. Kurset er designet for å gi økt kunnskap, innsikt og glede i vinens verden. THIS COURSE IS TAUGHT IN ENGLISH

    Til bestilling

Bli invitert på nye vinkurs og gode smaksoppleveler

Meld deg på vårt nyhetsbrev.

Bli invitert på nye vinkurs og gode smaksoppleveler

Meld deg på vårt nyhetsbrev.