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Chateau Musar 1997, Decanting & My Brother in Law


I have a question. In fact I have two but first I need to share the trauma of last weekend for therapeutic purposes.

Whilst we were half term camping in Cornwall, the Brother-in-Law had been summoned from the Big City to tend to the Father-in-Law who is with us whilst he recovers from a hip replacement. (the FiL is a trauma in himself but thats for another day maybe.). Anyway, the BiL is reluctant to be summoned from the Smoke at the best of times as he is generally suspicious of a world where all the trains are above ground and you can usually smell cow s**t for several months of the year. So, the BiL was rostered just for the weekend and alternative arrangements were made for the rest of the week.

When the BiL is in town it is good news for Turn Right out of the door Pub, which is the drinkers pub in the village. The Turn Right pub by the way is also the Close When the Last Man Leaves hostelry (which is normally the BiL in my experience)

So when we left for the long drive down to the West Country we left a schedule for the FiL’s pills, some complicated instructions about leaving lights on, a suitable bottle of Minervois on the kitchen table left over from a party and some advice to Gary in The Turn Right to get some more Guinness in.

All seemed to go well and we only had 8 or 9 phone calls over the weekend (“The big pan is in the drawer under the cooker”, “Theres more beer in the garage” , “The carpet cleaner is in the cupboard under the sink”, “Yes, I guess we can claim the cigarette burns on the insurance”)

The shock came when we got home and there was a gaping chasm in the wine rack where one of the two bottles of 1997 Chateau Musar should have been. Seems the BiL returned from The Turn Right having drunk them dry of the black stuff, scavenged the fridge and still had a thirst on. After drinking the last couple of Stella’s form the garage, and cannily ignoring all the daily drinking occupying the upper reaches of the rack, he’d gulped (and it will have been gulped) down, at 2 in the morning, whilst smoking his roll ups, the Musar that I’d been saving for a suitable occasion since the WS found some at the back of a cellar a couple of years ago. He kindly saved us on the washing up by using the same pint glass that he’d been drinking the lager from. Apparently freshly opened Chateau M mixes quite well with Belgian Pilsner dregs.

My first question is, does anyone have any polite way of protecting their cellars and avoiding such tragedies without appearing mean in similar circumstances?

The second more pressing enquiry, is that I’ve lost heart and decided that one way to cure the pain of the loss is to quaff the other bottle with Mrs Bags tonight over a steak and some Epoisse. How long do people think I should decant a 20 year old bottle of Lebanons best for?


I had a bottle of the '99 a few months ago. I wouldn’t decant for very long, it shouldn’t need much air.

Edit: sorry just saw the bit about “tonight” so presume you’ve already had it! Any good?


Great story - made us laugh. We would have been horrified. I’d always decant for about 45 mins to an hour to level it out. I always get concerned about some ‘old’ wine and not decanting for so long then regret not decanting it for longer!


You could offer a date to get together and socialise. On the invite could be a ‘chance to sample the very special and expensive Musar, which I have been keeping by for special occasions’


Condolences for your loss in such unfortunate circumstances! We separate the everyday drinking, better and special occasion wines onto different racks. But it’s not secure if someone grabs from the wrong rack. If I had a BiL like that I’d lock up the grog, period :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


In the end, when I went to Waitrose to buy the steak I saw they had a bottle of the 2003 so, although it was an unauthorised purchase I bought that. Decanted for about an hour. Found it quite different from the 2005 I’d had a while back. Quite a lot of fruit and almost “iron- y” if that makes sense. Enjoyed it though


Thanks Rich…in end drank a 2003 that I found in Waitrose yesterday afternoon. Decanted for an hour. I asked the question as I sometimes read about old wines being opened not long enough before to “open up” is the words I’ve seen. But then also some people say that aif you leave it too long the wine “fades”! How do you ever know the right time unless you open about 3 or 4 bottles at the same time & solidly drink you’re way through them at different times? Now there’s an experiment worth trying!


Good idea! Will be moving the good stuff to a secure location for the next BiL visit


Iron-y is exactly how I would describe the '99 I had. But then other vintages are just heady and perfumed. I generally think Musar is just hugely variant according to vintage.


By a country mile, that’s the funniest thread I’ve read on here :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:

Just read it out loud to my other half who is a massive Musar fan. Her first words: “I’d have punched him.”


This story was equal parts hilarious and tragic! :rofl:

I share your pain, as I have a very similar-sounding sister-in-law, haha. I have to admit we hide the good stuff now…

This whole topic has just reminded me of that Black Books episode where they accidentally drink a really expensive wine while house-sitting. :joy: One of my fave episodes - here if you haven’t see/would like to revisit:


I’m with Laura, hide it. On the basis the BiL and anyone else with light fingered (and with light conscience) won’t know what would be there, it could be under your bed, under the dog’s bed, almost anywhere. He and others won’t look beyond what they can see in the rack…


Get some more! If TWS no longer have any, you could contact Hedley Wright in Hitchin, they still have some Musar 1997 at about £30. (They have an excellent Massaya Rosé too, unless the two bottles we bought were their last).

If that fails or is inconvenient, use wine-searcher.com to find it. Several other merchants stock it too, at various prices.

Maybe you could send BIL the bill?!


Hide the Musar away…


That’s taking the “best way to hide is to be in full sight” to the extreme!


If anyone is interested The Sampler is doing a Musar co-shipping offer with a few old ones, too. I get no commission from them.



Thanks - I’ll have a look


Just spoken with Pierre on the matter, the 1997 vintage was one of the great vintages, its reaching its peak around now and he suggests decanting for a very short time (10-15 minutes) - so that evolves in glass rather than in the decanter. Musar’s UK office might have some additional stocks but alas I don’t think it will be cheap to acquire what has already been consumed.


that might be impossible :stuck_out_tongue:


Is this like that thing with the rodents and the cocoa beans?