It was in 1930 that Gaston Hochar, of Lebanon's Chateau Musar, planted his first vineyards, after returning from Bordeaux. Major Ronald Barton (of Château Langoa-Barton), who was stationed in Lebanon during World War II, befriended Gaston Hochar, strengthening links with Bordeaux and influencing the Musar style.
Gaston's first son, Serge, became Chateau Musars winemaker in 1959, while completing his winemaking studies at the University of Oenology in Bordeaux, under the tutorage of Jean Riberau and Emile Peynaud. 3 years later, Ronald Hochar (Gaston's second son) takes over the financial and marketing aspects of the winery.
It wasn't until 1977 that Serge Hochar finalised the formula for Chateau Musar Reds. 2 years later, Michael Broadbent ‘discovers' Chateau Musar at the Bristol Wine Fair, hailing the 1967 vintage as the “Find of the Fair”. Chateau Musar opens its UK Company to develop its sales into the UK market and thereafter into Europe.
In 1984, Decanter magazine nominates Serge Hochar as their first ‘Man of the Year', recognising his dedication to producing superb wines throughout Lebanon's Civil War (1975-1990).
The family tradition continued in 1994 when Gaston Hochar, Serge's son joins the winery, to later become its managing director and again in 2003 when Ralph Hochar, Ronald's son joins the UK office in charge of sales in the on-trade.
Vintage_2006 saw Chateau Musar obtains its first official , Dietary Requirement_Organic certification for some of its vineyards.
Most recently in 2010, Serge Hochar receives the lifetime achievement award from the German magazine Der FeinSchmeker. Also Marc Hochar, Serge's second son, joins his brother Gaston to help run and expand the winery's activities.
The ‘Chateau Musar' range of wines are this houses most famous range of wines. These are their ‘Grands Vins', each with their unique signature and imprint in the world of wine. Since 1930, every aspect of production – grape sourcing, fermentation, oak-ageing and bottle maturation – has been trialled to achieve the ultimate expression of Musar's specific ‘terroirs' (site-specific interactions of soil, vine, climate and time).
The harvest of Vintage_2011 posed one of the most challenging experiences in wine-making at Chateau Musar over the last 20 years, as it was one of the most untypical years in Lebanese history.
The year began with a cold January but with insufficient rain. February proved similar with March being sunnier but April and May produced the really big surprise with a level of rainfall to match January, February and March combined! The main result of the rain was very late maturation, with flowering occurring 25 days later than usual and this delay continued over the maturation period and up to the harvesting day. Our first Carignan was harvested on the 22nd September and then on the 23rd it rained for three days from the 23rd until the 25th September with the Carignan and the Cinsault not yet harvested. The Carignan resisted the rain but the Cinsault was more affected. The harvest was finally completed on the 13th October, which with the exception of our 1983 vintage, was the latest in our company's history.
The Vintage_2011 vintage is our traditional blend of approximately one third each of Cabernet SauvignonCinsault and Carignan. The bottling took place 3 years later in Vintage_2014, after the wines spent a year in French Nevers oak barrels.
Released in the spring of Vintage_2018, the Chateau Musar Red of this year is a dark blood red colour with a rich, fragrant fruit nose; mulberries, black cherries, plums with a hint of mocha. The palate is very intense and concentrated, it's full of volume and characterised by forest and black fruits with elegant spice. The tannins are soft and juicy and it has a lengthy finish.
Chateau Musar Red Vintage_2011 is a vibrantly powerful vintage and cellared well it will keep for decades.
A great match for red meats, especially game, seasonal casseroles and mature cheeses.