Chateau Musar 1996 Bekaa Valley white ($30.00)
This is a very clear gold wine, bright enough in color to suggest the oxidation that's normal in older Musar whites. Luscious oxidative aromas blend brown sugar, caramel and butterscotch notes with drief-fruit notes of figs and dates. These aromas might suggest a sweet wine, but it's dry on the palate, full-bodied and properly acidic, with caramel and dried-fruit elements that follow the nose. One of our favorite white wines, it's "yummy," to use a non-technical term. US Importer: Broadbent Selections Inc., San Francisco. (Dec 25, 2005)

FOOD MATCH: Its body and complexity make it a wine suitable for sipping by itself, contemplatively, before or after a meal. It's probably too full-bodied for delicate fare, but it made a fine match with a rich and bold-flavored modern Italian seafood dish, steamed Pacific Northwest oysters on a creamy spinach puree over orzo pasta, topped with a sensuous sabayon gently flavored with curry butter.



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