Chateau Musar 1997 by Gaston Hochar
Dry red wine. An almost perfect vintage. Rich, warm deep red cherry with a smoky nose full of spice and fruits. The palate is full of mixed berries – cherries, redcurrants, pomegranate and Christmas spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. 75cl
Full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault & Carignan blend from Beqaa Valley, Lebanon. 13.5% ABV. Suitable for Vegans. Organic Viticulture.
[tabs] [tab title="The Producer"]
Chateau Musar is Lebanon's iconic wine brand, founded by Gaston Hochar in 1930, who was inspired after a trip to Bordeaux. Musar is known for producing a red blend of French grapes, specifically: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. The winery became critically-acclaimed when Gaston's son, Serge Hochar, took over the winery in 1959.
Perfecting the Musar style, which is unequivocally unique, Serge Hochar struck export gold when auctioneer & taster Michael Broadbent named Musar 1967 as the discovery of the 1979 Bristol Wine Fair. Award-winning every year since, Musar Red is today one of the world's most sought-after red wines and varies considerably vintage to vintage in style.
Despite being set high in the beautiful Beqaa Valley, Chateau Musar has had to overcome frequent tensions and war in Lebanon to ensure it produces its wine every year.
Musar's pioneering success led to Serge Hochar being named Decanter's first Man of the Year. Unfortunately, Serge Hochar died suddenly, aged 75, on New Year's Eve 2014 and the wine world across all spectrums mourned his tragic loss. Today his son, Gaston Hochar, is head winemaker and manages operations at Chateau Musar.
[/tab] [tab title="Grapes"]
Chateau Musar 1997's Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most well-known and most-planted grape variety in the world. Thanks to Robert Parker and other Bordeaux enthusiasts, plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon have more than doubled since 1990 to nearly 300,000 hectares in 2010. Its parents are Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Today it is called an "international variety" as you will find it planted all over the world. The grape's high ratio of pip to pulp and thick skins contribute high levels of tannin, which adds structure and improves the ageability of red wines.
A robust black grape variety with superb heat tolerance and therefore popular in warmer climates like the Languedoc-Roussillon in France, Algeria in Africa and Lebanon in Asia. It adds softness and bouquet to a wine.
Carignan is widely planted throughout the Mediterranean, particularly France and Spain. Generally, Carignan produces large yields - especially in warmer climates - so is popular for winemakers who want volume of production. It is also used in blends and offers red berry fruit like cranberries and hints of baking spices.
[/tab] [tab title="Serving Suggestion"]
Food & Wine Matching
Pair the Musar 1997 with braised beef and pancetta.
Other serving suggestions include:
- Smelly soft cheese or richly flavoured Brie.
- Chargrilled beef.
- French onion soup.
[/tab] [tab title="Awards & Press"]
Accolades for Chateau Musar Red 1997
- 92pts, Jamie Goode (Wine Anorak)
- 90pts, Cellar Tracker
- 88pts, Wine Enthusiast
"Chateau Musar remains defiantly, even gloriously unique."
Tim Atkin MW.
"Chateau Musar is one of the world’s best-known and most romantic wines."
[/tab] [tab title="The Region"]
Beqaa Valley, Lebanon
Beqaa (or Bekaa) Valley is the epicentre of wine production in Lebanon. It's a plateau sitting 1,000m above sea level between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges. The region enjoys dry Summers, cool nights and a fair amount of rainfall. Imagine it as a warmer version of Bordeaux, with the influence of the Mediterranean rather than the Atlantic. There is a mix of bush and trained trellis vines here, but most modern wineries like Musar and Ksara are using modern viticulture.
Lebanon itself is known for its Chateau Musar wines and, moreso every day, the wines of Chateau Ksara. Musar has pioneered quality Bordeaux-inspired red wines since it gained international recognition from auctioneer Michael Broadbent in 1979. It has a chequered history of tensions and conflict but nonetheless the winemakers carry on producing truly amazing wines.
Much of Lebanese winemaking is French-inspired and French varieties dominate plantings in Lebanon. In total, around 30 grape varieties are grown across Lebanon.