Liam Rudden: The search of Chateau Musar

The iconic Mateus bottle
The iconic Mateus bottle
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NEVER mix the grape and the grain. That was the sage advice of my old-man when I turned old enough to drink, legally.

Not that wine was a big thing in Leith back then. You were more likely to order a pint of Harp or a nip of Black Bottle than a glass of the house plonk.

What wine there was, well, let’s just say it was truly of its time and usually only encountered when visiting posh aunties.

Brands like Blue Nun, La Piat D’or and Mateus, which I’m sure many only bought to try out their home-craft skills, transforming the uniquely shaped-bottle with the picturesque label into a bedside lamp.

Oh, and then there was the obligatory bottle of Liebfraumilch for special occasions. It was also so *refined.

*Insert winky face emoji here.

However, while I’ve always been more of a pint man, after a wine tasting session many years ago, I can now be occasionally be tempted by a glass of red - as long as it is rich and spicy.

And while I’m no connoisseur, I did learn the trick of reading a label; basically never buy anything less than 13%. That’s what I was advised as a way of short-cutting the decision making process - a ploy that has worked to date.

Recently, on a visit to Dine, in Saltire Court, I discovered what could well become a new favourite tipple when I opted for a bottle of Burlesque Old Vine Zinfandel.

Spicy, packed with damson and just a hint of black pepper, it hit the spot.

The label too proved provocative and unique. Check it out - stilettoes and tights.

A Californian wine, it reminded me of another red I’d been introduced to years ago by the late and legendary Brian Crawford, Director of The Dome.

As so, as I sat chatting with Paul Brennan, co-owner of Dine, after lunch the other day, I mentioned this great wine. The one I missed. Problem was, do you think I could recall its name?

Memory with more holes than Swiss cheese these days.

Luckily a quick text to the ever efficient Kate Bell, another stalwart of The Dome back in the day, and I was singing the praises of Chateau Musar to Paul.

I’m always amused by the way wines are described, Chateau Musar is no different. The blurb goes something like this: ‘Think Bordeaux meets Arabian Nights, Chateau Musar’s indulgent, sensuous flavours make it an unforgettable experience.’

Those flavours include aromatic cinnamon that had me hooked from the first glass Brian poured.

It was a new one on Paul, but not Dine’s Sommelier Stefano, who instantly recognised it as a ‘Lebanon wine’ and a good one at that.

Better still, he knew where to source some. My search for Chateau Musar was over.

Best of all though, there’s now a stock in Dine for when I, well, dine there.

The problem is, I’ll now have to decide between it and the Burlesque Old Vine Zinfandel.

Decisions, decisions.w