The Bekaa Valley in Lebanon is one of the most striking wine regions in the world. Here the majestic ruins of Baalbek are set against a background of the banners and kalashnikovs of the Hizbollah. Amongst them lie the vineyards mainly planted to traditional French grape varieties, but also including, for white wines, such local specialities as the Obaideh and Merweh. Serge Hochar, of Château Musar, is the man who, more than most, has put Lebanese wines on the international map. We are proud to offer a selection of his wines in a variety of styles. There is probably no winery in the world which has in its cellars a broader range of vintages and, given notice, we can always try to obtain bottles of historic wines of a particular date.
Musar Jeune Red is an unoaked blend of Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from youthful Bekaa Valley vines. Meant for current consumption – within a few years of the harvest – this deeply-coloured, vividly fruity style, first produced in 2007, may yet prove to be a ‘keeper’. Inky-dark, silky-textured and aromatic, with blackcurrant, raspberry and cherry jam flavours and a warm, spicy finish, it has been likened to a fine Roussillon red.
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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.
Rich, spicy and aromatic, this robust red hails from a single Bekaa Valley vineyard planted with Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Grenache over 40 years ago. Five years in the making, with 9 months in French oak barrels, it’s full of smooth bramble fruit flavours, with hints of figs, dates and cedary spice.
In their youth, Chateau Musar Reds are dense and richly-textured, with intense ‘baked fruit’ characters: plums, damsons, cranberries, cherries, figs and dates. Bordeaux grape Cabernet Sauvignon lends black fruit flavours; Rhône grapes Cinsault and Carignan contribute fragrance (violets; pepper) and supple spiciness. Either set of qualities might dominate a particular vintage, but the style is always emphatically Lebanese: enticingly aromatic, with persistent fruit flavours. Over decades the wines acquire tawny hues and mellow notes.