Al-Amarís Chateau Musar: All in a Glass13 Apr 2012
If you have ever had the pleasure of sitting down to a meal at Al-Amar, you’d know by now that Lebanese cuisine in its truest, most natural form couldn’t possibly be served in a more authentic fashion than this amazing Middle Eastern fine dining restaurant offers it. With flavours so sinful yet divine to pamper your taste buds with every bite, you would think the joy derived from the eating was the climax. Only, it’s not!
At least, it was until I took my first sip of the Chateau Musar Jeune White 2009, closed my eyes and secretly fell in love not too long ago. It was the 29th of March 2012, a night never to forget. As the fruity hints from the wine washed about inside my mouth, it was a delightful explosion of passion fruit, apples, elder-flowers, lime and apricot which inspired a youthful release deep within. Paired with Al-Amar’s mezzes, Chicken Tagines, seafood and grilled fish dishes, the drink is an epic journey through discovery.
While I had already decided on my favourite serving that night, all visiting guests were treated to whole array of choice wines founded by CEO, Ralph Hochar’s grandfather in the 1930s. French in origin, the Hochar family first landed on Lebanese territory back in the 12th century. Relishing fine wine against such an intimate background was certainly my idea of the perfect evening.
As its name suggests, the Chateau Musar Jeune Rosé 2009 which came shortly after, had a vibrant taste given its bold concoction of raspberries, blackcurrants, red apple skins and toasted almonds. Interestingly, the beverage is best served with spicy Mediterranean and seafood dishes, roast chicken, nuts and olives.
Close behind and bearing similar intrepid natural accents, the Chateau Musar Jeune Red 2009 (blackcurrants, redcurrants, cherries and raspberries) was no ordinary drink. The red wine’s dark and silky texture accompanied with roasts, grills, game, casseroles and mature cheeses, heightened the dining and wining experience. By this point as I’m sure you’d have guessed, I was drunk with excitement but the enchantment was only beginning.
The variants which followed were nothing short of magnificent. After only one serving of the Chateau Musar Cuvée White 2004, I was left wanting for more. A gentle pampering with an underlying creaminess resonating from the crisp, citrusy zest of the apples, Lebanese Obaideh grapes and full body of the almonds, the glass served a refreshing pour. Next, the Chateau Musar Red 2000 arrived in all its splendid glory; a well-balanced vintage indeed.
What came last of all, I did not expect. The Chateau Musar Arack was the icing on the cake, but one must be prepared for the surprise ahead. An honest-to-goodness drink, it is advisable to save this pour for a special occasion. Arack is a national staple, as far as alcoholic beverages go. Produced from distilled grapes and aged for 5 to 10 years, it is redistilled a second time using star-anise seeds. Understanding the core flavour which backs the offering, you can appreciate the robust qualities one must be prepared for. Certainly a must-try!
At the end of the grand affair, I had only praise for the exquisite Chateau Musar collection which has quickly become a personal passion; one which I will be running back to very soon. While it was no surprise that my Lebanese food and drink encounter was a rather sensational one, overall the evening did far surpass my expectations and I know exactly why.
Right from its chefs to the ingredients used to prepare the food plated in its 15,000 sq ft. kitchen, the brand is dedicated to maintaining only the highest standards with no compromise on quality and to ensure the most refined flavours and textures come true in its gastronomic pamperings. Reinforcing this goal, Al-Amar’s highly-skilled culinary experts are flown in from Lebanon as are the restaurant’s herbs, spices and all other cooking condiments. The same is employed in the service of its beverages.
Congratulations, Al-Amar for a wine tasting and dinner well executed!