Chateau Musar Gaston Hochar
is a Lebanese wine which might seem obscure, but viticultural roots in Lebanon go back over 6000 years. Chateau Musar Gaston Hochar is a uniquely different wine from the Beeka Valley, produced by master winemaker Serge Hochar. Concentrated plum and blackberry fruit, hints of fig, prune, distinct liquorice and spice. Firm but fine tannins, good acidity and body, vibrant and fresh with streaks of cedar and cinnamon. Long finish. Château Musar will last for decades and can be enjoyed with everything from French-style roast lamb, to North-African cuisine.
The Hochar family’s philosophy of respect for the environment means that the 180 hectares of Musar vineyards are managed with minimal human interference and all the wines are made as naturally.
Chateau Musar was the first producer in Lebanon to achieve organic certification for its vineyards. 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 wines are neither fined nor filtered.
Chateau Musar also produces L’Arack de Musar, Lebanon’s purest aniseed-flavoured spirit.