Hochar Père et Fils Red has often been described as the ‘second’ wine of Chateau Musar, as it does bear some resemblance to the ‘Grand Vin’ but the comparison stops there.
A guide to the style
Hochar Père et Fils Red is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the ‘second wine’ of Chateau Musar but this is not an accurate description.
Grapes and vines
Four years in the making, Hochar Père et Fils Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Grenache from a single vineyard near the Bekaa Valley village of Aana, characterised by deep soils over limestone. At an average age of 30 years old, yields are low from these mature bushvines: 20-30 hl per hectare.
The three varietal components are fermented in cement vats, with 6 to 9 months ageing in French oak barrels (from the forest of Nevers) before blending and bottling (unfined and unfiltered). As with the Chateau Musar Red, the wines are blended to reflect the character of each vintage. After several years’ maturation in bottle, the wines are released a full four years after the harvest.
Decanting and serving
Bottled unfined and unfiltered, Hochar Père et Fils Reds are suitable for vegans; they’re also richly-textured and likely to produce deposits in bottle. This is a feature of most fine wines. Ideally, the wine could be decanted (discarding any sediment) up to one hour before serving at between 16-18°C. This wine is an ideal choice for casseroles, roasted meats, tuna steaks and Mediterranean dishes.
To keep the wines showing at their best, bottles must be cellared in darkness, lying on their sides and not subjected to unnecessary movement or fluctuations in temperature.
The Hochar family’s philosophy of respect for the environment means that the 180 hectares of Musar vineyards are managed with minimal human interference and all the wines are made naturally.
Chateau Musar was the first producer in Lebanon to achieve organic certification for its vineyards in 2006. Most are located in the Bekaa Valley, cradled between two mountain ranges running parallel to Lebanon’s Mediterranean coastline. Vines have been cultivated here for at least 6,000 years: the Phoenicians (seafaring ancestors of the modern Lebanese) were instrumental in bringing vines and wines from Byblos across to all of the areas around the Mediterranean.
Flanked by snow-covered mountains, and nestled at 1000m (3,000 feet) above sea level, the serenely beautiful Bekaa Valley is blessed with 300 days of sunshine a year, fresh mountain breezes and an average temperature of 25°C (encompassing snowy winters and hot summers). Remote and unspoilt, the Musar vineyards were ‘organic’ by default before the term was coined.
All the grapes are hand-harvested by local Bedouins between August and October.
In the winery, ambient yeasts do the work of fermentation. The bare minimum of sulphur is used and the Chateau Musar Red wines are neither fined nor filtered.