This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2005








UK Wine Forum - Other areas
Notes from participants in the UK Forum are added in chronological order.

Lebanon - Israel - Canada - China - North Africa

Lebanon

02/04 Hochar 1999
It had a deep red colour with a exotic smell of spices, leather, cherries and blackberries. It was rich, warm and fruity on the palate as well, with firm tannins and a taste that lasts. I would say this is for drinking now and a few more years. Anybody else who has some experience with this wine? (Henning, Norway)

07/03 Chateau Musar 1997
(Booths, Majestic, Sainsbury, Waitrose £11.49 - £12.49) Looking a touch oxidised, but not reflected on nose or palate. Really interesting nose - leather, cedar, touch of farmyard and bundles of character. Excellent attack - quite light, but then fills well. Quite chewy and rich on middle. Great length. Classic indefinable Musar! Bottle two: Quite pale, remarkably mature looking - even and not quite brickish. Gorgeous nose, maybe cab sauv dominant? Very elegant, fine nose with blackcurrant, mint and a certain leatheriness. Extremely attractive attack. Very clean and really rather elegant. Good fruit, light tannins. Great length, with fruit lingering long after. Excellent. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

06/03 1987 Chateau Musar
Brick-red core, tawny brown elsewhere, with a burnt orange rim. Clear as a bell. Wonderfully armatic nose of cigar box, muted fruit and gentle smoke. VA present but muted. This is a gentle soft wine, quite light but with a warm finish and good mid-palate flavour and conentration. Soft tannins and balanced acidity make drinking this a real pleasure. Very Good indeed (Ray Abercromby, UK)

05/03 Château Musar 1994
Big disappointment. Lightish colour, with a herby, Rhône-like nose which was very attractive and beguiling and reminded me of the 1988, but less powerful. In the mouth the wine was out of balance, however, with too sweet a finish which was also a little short, and which really didn't follow through from the nose. I remain loyal to this producer for its originality, but couldn't tell if this was faulty or not. I guessed not. Moderate to Good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

03/03 Musar 1991
A cork showing obvious signs of seepage wasn't promising, but in the bottle it smelled fine. A pale colour (tea colour, Mrs P suggested) but healthy. Lovely nose (Mrs P, not a reader of TNs suggested roast pheasant). Meaty and earthy flavours, perhaps a hint of orange peel. Top stuff. Perhaps a hint of VA in the finish, but nothing unpleasant. Very good/excellent and for my book well worth the £17 it cost. (Mark Pearce, UK)

03/03 Chateau Musar 1977
A "vin de meditatione". Not a winr to go with food now as it;'s too light to cope with the complexity of even a simply cooed beef. Certainly overpowered by Beef Wellington.! However...by the end of th meal it was a lovely drop toi discuss among winey pals. (David Bennett, UK)

03/03 Chateau Musar 1988
A complete star, and the best drinking wine of the evening. Lots of VA with lovely Rhoney charater, interestingly the 77 was more "old Bordeaux" in style although of course in "style" only! (David Bennett, UK)

03/03 Chateau Musar 1989
Thinner and lighter than the 1988 with more VA and less stinky farmyard. Not enought depth to the fruit charater I thought. I Tasted this tonight again(72hrs later with NO STOPPER) and thought it was better! but sill no real improvement over the sublime 1988 (David Bennett, UK)

03/03 Chateau Musar 1991
On opening thin and weedy. Even less fruit than the 1989. sort of inbetween the 1977 and 1989 in that lighter style. Not my favourite but still a drinkable wine. Perhaps this needs time but I guess that it just wont get any better and simply collapse. I ave one bottle left and i'll keep it to see what happens... (David Bennett, UK)

03/03 Chateau Musar 1993
More like it! getting back to some decent structure and balance. Not as balanced as the 1988 though but partnered the Wellington well. (David Bennett, UK)

02/03 Chateau Musar 1994 - £12 (US$18) – 14%
The colour was a dull cherry red with a worrying, slightly browning tinge before one arrived at the rim. The smell was alcoholic, some liquorice, tar and it also reminded me of smelling the inside of an empty, used large wooden barrel. It tasted slightly sweet, noticeably acidic (volatile acidity?) with some richness on the mid palate, supporting tannins and a reasonable finish. At present, to my taste, this wine is out of balance with too much acidity. It certainly had softer tannins than the last bottle I tried about one year ago. The acid test (no pun intended) for me is, given the benefit of hindsight, would I buy this wine again. At present, no is the answer. I will hang onto my remaining bottles to see how it develops and whether the bottle variation I have read about from others will be part of the explanation. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous , UK)

02/03 Chateau Musar 1995
oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, Has Gaston Lost his way (prob not...) or was this a poor bottle? thin, weedy and overly VAish ( and I love VA!!) smelt like sort of nail varnish remover and a complete disappointment. distinct lack of fruit although th length was sort of there . This was not..* I don't think *..an off bottle...just overcropped or a poor year? I do hope my '77 is still OK... (Dave B)

11/02 Château Musar 1990
Medium ruby bricking towards the rim. Nose is a really interesting mix of stewed prunes, stewed tea, tobacco, leather and some orange notes. Palate is sweet yet savoury like sweet and sour sauce, with strong acidity and piercing fruit. Still strong tannins, these and the finish are a little bitter but improve with aeration. Very persistent finish. An incredibly interesting wine, which I still can't decide whether I like or not! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/02 Château Musar 1995
Reasonably deep ruby colour, just a hint browner at the rim. Nose is redolent of roast chestnuts against an alcoholic background. Sweet palate with excellent acidity - really mouth watering. The fruit is reminiscent of sloe gin, again nuts come through on the palate, more hazelnut this time. Good length. I think I like this one more than the 1990, but it's still a bit nutty! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/02 Chateau Musar 1991
Mature stinky farmyard aromas with a hint of rubber. Slightly harsh acidity overlaying a sweet, confected red fruit palate finishing quite abrubtly with soft melting tannins. 13/20 (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 Chateau Musar 1996
Oh dear. This is very painful for me. However I must report a poor showing for my favourite wine. The cork was in tight (for a change!) and so the brick red/orange mature colour was a bit of a surprise. Alarm bells stared to ring as I plunged the not inconsiderable Fincham proboscis into the 750ml capacity glass to discover that: "my dog has no nose" - no it didn't smell terrible, its just that it didn't really smell at all. Close inspection revealed an all to transparent looking wine and this was confirmed on the palate and the label. This is a dilute, thin bodied effort. It is the lowest reported alcohol content since Musar dropped to 13,5% in the 1990 vintage. The '96 weighs in at a puny 13.0% abv. It still tastes of Musar, but really should be downgraded and marketed as the Hochar Pere et Fils at £6.99 rather than disgrace the Grand Vin label at an ever increasing £11.99 from Majestic. Oh misery me! (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/02 Chateau Musar 1988
Any apprehension I had about this wine, to note from forumites' cynicism, quickly evaporated. This was a delicious wine, quite a deep red, though fading slightly at the edges, beautifully fragrant on the nose, with spices and crushed raspberries dominating, and a lovely weight, not heavy, on the palate, despite its high alcohol. Only downside was a slight (ever so slight) fish-sauce/metallic hint in the mouth, but this may have been a clash with the food (not fish, I hasten to add!). Slightly short on the finish, but a very good wine. Very good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

01/02 Chateau Musar 1967
Brick red, sedimented and pretty well oxidised on nose with leather, nuts and swimming pool, it nonetheless had a core of acid with some red fruits and subtle tannin which made for an pleasant wine; no less a wine that a younger Musar to me (not exactly a plus in my book, sorry to say), but somewhere close enough to interesting. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

01/02 Chateau Musar 1981
Elegant nose,Coffee notes, a little medicinal, but still quite quite refined, palate liquorice and coffee, finish quite long but a little alcoholic-mature but no hurry to drink. (Jonathan F, UK)

01/02 Chateau Musar 1982
Less medicinal, more cream and toffee, palate well developed, figs and prunes with a touch of cinnamon, good length, fully mature with a slightly oxidative but pleasant finish. Drink now if anyone has any. (Jonathan F, UK)

06/01 Chateau Musar 1966
I love the earthy nose of old Musar and this didn't disappoint. A sort of cross between an old Bordeaux and an old Beacastel! On the palate still plenty of plummy fruit backed up with minerals and spices. Good length. Not at all fragile - decanted 10 mins before the meal and still going strong after 40 mins. (Thinks - could I have decanted earlier or would another bottle behave differently?) (Trevor March, UK)

04/01 Chateau Musar 1991
Colour starting to get a golden brown tinge, nose is complex - vanilla toffee, violets, rotting veg., tea, cedar, mothballs, a touch of (nice) Jeyes fluid. Smooth with fine structure, mature fruit still there hanging on well into the finish which is raisined , spicy and persistent. Different. Very nice (Dave Sansom, UK)

06/00 Chateau Musar White 1995
Paler golden colour than the 1994. Vanilla and pine resin on the nose. Beautiful balance and nice mouthfeel. Good lemony acidity. 12.5% alcohol by volume. Not as concentrated as I would like. I'm trying to decide whether at £6.95 (Nickolls & Perks) this represents good QPR. I'm a fan. I'm biased. Its good. (Daron Fincham – UK)

06/00 Chateau Musar Rosé 1995
I'm trying to think of something nice to say about this wine. It was even an orange colour, not rose. Nope, its no good I can't. Again at £6.95 this represents poor QPR. Thank heaven it was a very hot Sunday and this was a very cold wine. (12% alcohol - the lightest Musar I've ever had). (Daron Fincham – UK)

01/00 Chateau Musar 1993
The wine had thrown a sediment and so had to be carefully decanted. Immediately, all sorts of petrolly, rubbery aromas were leaping out of the decanter. However, we resisted tasting it until 30-45 minutes later ... Quite deep garnet red colour with pinky, but slightly browning rim. Intense rubbery, leathery aromas with tarragon, mint, old bark, aniseed, bees-wax, cough mixture ... Lovely stuff!! The more you sniff the more you get out of it! Deep concentrated attack on the palate, with firm, chewy, well-integrated tannins, rich rubbery fruit, and spicy balancing acidity. Very round, full, complex, and elegant. Great length, with almonds and spice on the finish. Still my favourite wine (that is afordable)! (Neil Jenkins - Germany)

Israel

08/03 1999 Dalton Cabernet Sauvignon, Israel 14.0%
Deep bitter, with a lot of medium-toast vanilla and coconut aromas predominating. Dark bitter chocolate aromas, lots of spice. Hefty tannin, extracted and very young at the moment. Very Good, and particular value at £9. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

07/02 Golan Heights Winery Mount Hermon White 2000
Sauvignon and Sémillon. Fresh, quite citrusy, sweet fruit on the pleasant nose with hints of roasted coffee. Sllightly neutral on palate, with medium length. Might improve with lighter foods. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Golan Heights Yarden Chardonnay 2000
40% fermented and aged seven months in barrique. Nicely perfumed if rather shy nose holding the high amounts of oak rather well. Concentrated but fruity on the palate, slightly short on the finish. Well-made but nothing great. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Golan Heights Mount Hermon Red 2000
55% Cabernet, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in steel. Great saturated ruby-purple hue. Some Cabernet bell-pepper showing on another pleasant nose, later opening up in the glass with some cassis and spicy warmth. Slightly painty and aggressive in mouth but a very drinkable and truly very well-made Bordeaux blend. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Golan Heights Gamla Galilee Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Dark, clean colour. Nose is more bell-peppery and dark-fruity here, with textbook notes of cassis and chalk. This is quite concentrated and juicy, with good intensity and a paint-like texture from the oak, showing a minor weakness in the slightly bitter if rather long finish. A fine warm-climate Cabernet. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Golan Heights Yarden Merlot 1998
Colour as above. Nose is softer, more fruit-focused, with a cooked edge to the warm fruit profile; not too vegetal but with touches of bacon and burnt tyres emerging. Left in the glass for a while it tends to get more leafy and Merlot-typical, with strong tannins on the rather austere palate. Serious wine but needs time for harmony. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Golan Heights Yarden Cabernet 1998
Very vegetal again with notes of currant syrup and sweet pâtisserie scents. Interesting, quite complex, rather tannic in mouth and almost hard, but showing very well. (Nerval, UK)

Canada

02/03 Cave Spring Riesling Icewine, Naigra 1999
A plastic edge to the orangey, apricot fruit. Nice balance between sweetness and acid (although quite soft). An edge I couldn't put my finger on. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

07/02 Icewine Riesling 1997, Mission Hill, Okanagan Valley
Golden syrup colour. Marmalade/apricot aromas, flavours and texture. Very nice. Doesn't have complexity of equivalent-priced botrytis wines from Europe but still lovely. Very sweet. Good length, perhaps better. No hurry to drink this. Very good, perhaps very good plus. (David Pope, UK)

03/02 Pillitteri Chardonnay 1999 £8.95
Soft with light oakiness and looks more like a Sauvignon. Good acidity with ripe lemon flavours on the nose but melon on the palate with a hint of vanilla. Not very complex but a nice clean wine suitable for summer drinking. (David Pearce, UK)

03/02 Hillenbrand Chardonnay 1997 £12.00
Light straw in colour with signs of oak on the nose with vegetal aromas. On the palate Vanilla, oak and lemon with nice acidity and length (David Pearce, UK)

03/02 Hillenbrand Riesling 1999 £10.00
Very light straw with a classic Riesling nose. Limey with petroleum hints already showing. A nice example of this grape. (David Pearce, UK)

03/02 Pilliteri Cabernet Franc 1998
Deep purple core but fading at the rim. A nose of violets, black cherry and mint on the nose. The palate is of cherry stones with good tannins and acidity. Not a great deal of depth to it, but you wouldn't expect it to of. Good varietal character. (David Pearce, UK)

05/01 1997 Plut vineyard Select Late harvest Vidal, Inniskillin
As with all the Canadian desert wines I have tried, this is a fairly one dimensionla wine. No real secondary flavours or complexity. This is however in no way a critisism. On the contrary there is a singular depth of flavour and perfume I have rarely encountered in other wines. On the nose 2 flavours dominate. Lychee and mango. These merge together to give a soap like quality to the smell. Wierd and very intense. The same 2 flavours are found in the mouth, but these are bound together in a honeyed, almost mead like quality. To be honest I find it to honeyed for my tastes. The finish is quite long, but has a slight bitternes to it. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

04/01 Pelee Island Winery 1999 Gewurztraminer, VQA
The wine is a rich gold, viscous and ripe. The flavours of Asian pear, five spice and flowers are simple but quite powerful. It is not complex but if served well chilled it is an enjoyable drink and goes well with Asian mixtures. At $9.95 CAN, it is a bargain. In my opinion, Ontario does well with the Alsace varieties. FYI the exchange rate is usually ca. $2.40 to the pound sterling. (Stephen Farris, Canada)

09/00 Konezelmann (Niagra) '98.
Lovely floral peach and orange notes on the nose. Lovely balanced palate of the same with just the right acidity balance. Lovely desert wine. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

China

11/03 Great Wall Cabernet Sauvignon NV
Served blind. I didn't take a proper note on this, but from memory it was a deeply coloured wine with a slightly soapy nose and decent fruit on the palate, if a little too tannic to be terribly enjoyable on its own. Could no doubt hold its own pretty well with many 5 pound bottles. (Tim Haddon, UK)

North Africa

10/02 Bonassia 2001 Syrah – Beni M'Tir, Morocco, 13% - £4.49 (US$7)
A real wild card from that legendary chain of high street wine stores Oddbins. This brick red coloured wine had a vanilla and red fruits nose leading you to a powerful, high acidity and bitter cherry finish. As someone remarked "This needs cous cous", I poured mine into the tasting bucket. My score 4 (3.2). (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/02 Bonassia 2000 Syrah – Beni M'Tir, Morocco
Good juicy strawberry nose with minor mussels funk; pleasant if slightly gooey texture in mouth, nice juicy fruit, greatly drinkable, refreshingly inexpensive at L4 and coming from Morocco, hence wonderful! (Nerval, UK)