Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hochar Pere et Fils, Rose, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

"I seek only to translate what nature has intended."
     --- Serge Hochar

   In the 1930's, Gaston Hochar began Chateau Musar ( ) in a 17th century castle overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Ghazir, Lebanon. I don't know if he could have imagined at the time, how much he and his family would impact the entire wine industry.

   In 1959 Gaston's son Serge Hochar finished his oenology degree in Bordeaux, France and returned home to enter the family business whilst Serge's brother Ronald took over the marketing and finance departments in 1962. It was a time of strife in Lebanon, but as one Lebanese friend told me: "Lebanon has always known strife". Once again, little did they know.

   1975 was the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War, during which approximately 250,000 civilians died and over a million were injured. My friend was actually smuggled out of the country by family, and has never returned. But during this time of extreme duress, the Hochar family continued to live their passion in the vineyards of the Bekaa Valley. Passion and hard work will inevitably lead down the bumpy road of success, and in 1979 at the Bristol Wine Fair (England), Chateau Musar was named the "discovery of the fair", and only 5 years later Serge was named Decanter Magazine's first ever Man of the Year.

   And all of this came about because Gaston Hochar, Serge's father, had an extended stay in France that started a hobby... the hobby of enjoying wine. Hobby turned to passion, passion turned to business, and wine lovers the world over are just as passionate in their enjoyment of the Hochar family's work.

2004 Hochar Pere et Fils, Rose
Ghazir, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

13% ABV,   $24 CAD   ** EXCELLENT VALUE **

saignee (free run method) of Cinsault and Grenache
bottled 3 months after harvest, released after 1 year

altitude:   1000 metres
yield:       35 hl/ha
soil:         gravel with limestone base

  • visual:   clean with slight sediment; light cherry-brick core with the slightest watery rim
  • nose:   clean; fully intense and developed aromas of blackberry, black cherry, black raspberry, red currant and cassis, rich floral nuances throughout
  • palate:   clean; dry, fully intense (red and black currant) acids, moderate alcohol, light body, fully intense and developed flavors; all of the aromas with light strawberry, crabapple and stoney minerality. Good balance and excellent structure. Medium to long length on the palate
  • conclusions:   this wine is drinking superbly now. Enjoy now to 2013 without issue
  • PAIRINGS:   racy acids call for fat and this wine needs lots of it. This wine was made for bold flavors, and I`m thinking roast leg of lamb with savory herbs would be a natural pairing... as an appero I had this the other night with dolmades which are grape leaves stuffed with rice and kept in olive oil
   To quote the Chateau Musar website:

   Speaking about the wines of Château Musar, Serge Hochar says "the harmony of nature is better than anything we could ever create. I believe it should be a priority to seek to drink what is 'true' rather than what is 'good' ". When speaking about quality in wine he adds "I once produced a wine that was technically perfect but it lacked the charms of imperfection".

   I love the richness of this wine, and I love the richness that is Chateau Musar`s dedication to let the land speak in it`s own voice.

Musar winery, courtesy Lebanon government

As always, your comments and questions are more then welcome.

CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

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