2019 Chateau Musar “Hochar”, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

2019 Chateau Musar “Hochar”, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon



On another road trip last September when we visited Jackson, Wyoming, this very appealing red blend of the Chateau Musar “Hochar” from LEBANON was recommended to us by a local wine merchant.  We finally opened it last night to accompany Renee’s leftover Beef Bourguignon.  We were amazed at the expression of perfectly ripened fruit, firm structure, fine natural acid, balance and generous aromas.  Even more amazing was tracking down and finding the last six cases of the very same 2019 vintage still available from one of the major distributors.

Four years in the making, Hochar Père et Fils is a proprietary red blend of 50% Cinsault and 40% Grenache and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from a single vineyard of exceptionally low yielding, 30+ year old bush vines in deeps soils over limestone at 3,000 ft above sea-level in the Bekaa Valley near the village of Aana. The three varietal components are fermented in cement vats, with six months aging in Nevers French oak barrels before blending and bottling (unfined and unfiltered).  After several years’ maturation in bottle, the wines are released a full four years after the harvest.

No ratings to pass judgement on except the Jackson, Wyoming merchant was spot on.  I understand the compatible southern Rhone blend of Cinsault and Grenache, but the Cabernet Sauvignon is an unusual but genius addition.  Indeed special, the Cabernet Sauvignon is a very strong and influential component at only 10%.  Hochar is a medium-bodied wine with spicy tobacco, and peppery red fruit aromatics and flavors. Regardless of its Rhone varieties, curiously it could easily pass for a fine Bordeaux Supérieur with its polished and balanced, elegant and linear structure. 13.50% alcohol.