No other family has done more for Lebanese wine than the Hochar’s. They have literally dodged gunfire and bombshells to transform grape to wine. In 1930 the scion of the family, Gaston Hochar, established a winery north of Beirut in Ghazir. Only 20 years old, he set out to make wines in the fashion of French Bordeaux, with respectful deference to Lebanon’s winemaking traditions. His wines caught on quickly with French officers stationed in country. In 1959, his son Serge took on the mantle of winemaker. Unceremoniously he told his father: “I want to make the wine my way, I want it to be known world-wide – and I want you to quit!” Tutored at the University of Oenology in Bordeaux by Jean Riberau and Emile Peynaud, Serge understood modern winemaking. Even during the bloody civil war that ravaged the country from 1975 to 1990, grapes were transported to the winery from vineyards in the Beqaa Valley. 1976 was the only year when no Château Musar was made. 1984’s Decanter Man of the Year, Serge died prematurely in a swimming accident in 2014. It’s tough to follow such a winemaking giant, but Serge’s son Gaston has proven himself worthy of the task. Château Musar is today still exceptional.
This is how the winery describes the 2010 vintage of Château Musar – “Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan were blended in 2012 after having spent a year in untoasted French Nevers barrels and this vintage was bottled in the summer of 2013. It is a deep, rich garnet color with aromas of raisins, cedar, prunes and cinnamon. The 2010 is a savory, herby wine with delicate spices and the raisiny, figgy aromas follow through to the palate. This is an elegant vintage with fresh acidity and a long, dry finish.”