Thursday, August 03, 2006


As war continues to rage in Lebanon, my thoughts turn to winemaker Serge Hochar. In the 1970s, civil war devastated the country for 20 years, yet Hochar continued to make wine. In fact, the Hochar family has been making wine in Lebanon since the 1930s long before WWII began.

These wines are salt of the earth wines, war-torn wines, "true" wines that emerge from "the harmony of nature" Serge himself says. These wines are Lebanon.

Chateau Musar is situated just 15 miles north of Beirut. The grapes are grown in Bekaa Valley, where some believe the very first wine ever was made.


A blend of Cinsault, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, this wine exhibits a wonderful red berry nose leaning toward raspberry. There are rich flavors of Pomegranate, light cherry, a hint of pastry dough and tart cranberries on the finish. Light in color and mouthfeel, you'll swear you are drinking Pinot Noir, but it tastes nothing like it.


90 PTS
Unique and unlike any red wine you've tasted. Its delicate nature calls to mind Burgundy. Its earthy undertones will remind you of Bordeaux. In the end, it is neither. It is Lebanon in a glass and it has its own history, its own distinctness, its own admirable characteristics. I was tempted to open the bottle of 1997 Chateau Musar in my cellar right after this one, but luckily I found some restraint. If you think this wine is good, the Chateau Musar '97 is twice as delicious.

The Musar Cuvee Rouge retails for around $16 a bottle.


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