Founded in 1930 by Gaston Hochar, Musar truly arrived on the scene during the late 70’s gaining a cult following which it quite rightly retains to this day.
Chateau Musar was the first producer in Lebanon to achieve organic certification for its own 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.
Hochar Père et Fils Red has often been described as the ‘second’ wine of Chateau Musar, as its style does bear some resemblance to the flagship wine but the comparison stops there as its vineyards, blend and ageing places are very different.
Four years in the making, Hochar Père et Fils Red is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced 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 at 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. 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.