2016 Chateau Musar Hochar Red Lebanon Bekaa Valley
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Chateau Musar is Lebanon’s reference-point producer. Their vineyards and winery are located in the Bekaa Valley, near the border with Syria and halfway between Beirut and Damascus. In this troubled corner of the world, Musar has patiently been growing and making beautiful, aged and age-worthy wines since the 1930s. The wines nod stylistically towards both Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley. Farming is certified organic farming and fermentations are indigenous, with no fining or filtration. “Hochar” is named after the estate’s founder Gaston Hochar and his sons. It’s a blend of 50% cinsault, 35% grenache, and 15% cabernet sauvignon from a single vineyard perched at 1000 meters above sea level. Fermentation in concrete and aging for six months in French oak barrels followed by several years in bottle. (Most of Chateau Musar’s wines are aged for years in the winery before release.) There is a rich, Mediterranean spiciness with black fruits and tar, all held in check by minerality, fresh acidity, and supple tannins. Drink it as you would a Bandol rouge, which is to say, with hearty meat stews and tagines (especially lamb) or barbecue.