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This is the second wine of Lebanon's legendary Chateau Musar, made from a single vineyard planted to cinsault, carignan, cabernet and grenache, and it bears the estate's hallmark spicy, savoury flavours and succulent fruit.
Product Code: LE1111
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Chateau Musar was established in 1930 by Gaston Hochar at the tender age of 20. His inspiration was both the 6,000-year winemaking history of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and also his time in Bordeaux – a connection which was strengthened during the Second World War when he befriended Major Ronald Barton of Château Langoa-Barton while he was stationed in Lebanon. In 1959 he graciously stepped aside for his two eager sons Serge and Ronald. Serge, who sadly passed away in 2014, was the better known of the pair, having travelled extensively to promote the wines and regularly attending annual Wine Society tastings to meet our members. Ronald, however, has been instrumental in running the business side of things, and his huge contribution includes keeping the winery open against all odds throughout the civil war. This is especially shocking given that in 1989 the winery and the Hochar family home were directly hit by shelling, but the Hochar brothers did more than stand their ground: for a short time they even used the cellars as a bomb shelter to give local people refuge. Today it is overseen by the third generation: like their father and uncle, Serge’s eldest son Gaston now manages the day-to-day operation of the winery whereas his younger son Marc helps to control the commercial aspects. Ronald’s son Ralph also works in Musar’s UK office, and his daughter Elsa has immortalised the winery and her family’s rich history in a documentary. The Musar property is located in the southern end of Bekaa Valley, around 30km north of Beirut. Here the altitude and shelter from surrounding mountains provide excellent growing conditions; the Bekaa valley is almost completely disease and frost free with long mild summers and just enough rain in the winter. The wide range of gravelly soils over limestone is also ideal for viticulture. The red grapes – cabernet sauvignon, cinsault and carignan – are grown on mature, low-yielding vines for extra concentration, whereas the white grapes are indigenous varieties are better suited to higher altitude - some are grown as high as 1500m above sea level. Picking is done by hand in the cool mornings to preserve freshness, and all of Musar’s wines are produced with minimum intervention. Wines are made with the minimum of sulphur and are not fined or filtered. Chateau Musar has been described by many as one of the great wines of the world, and it is certainly eccentric and intriguing in style. The third generation continues to build on Serge Hochar’s artistic craftsmanship. He has been quoted as saying “I once produced a wine that was technically perfect but it lacked the charms of imperfection”, and the ultimate aim is still to make Musar in the most natural and authentic way, but with a touch of fascinating volatility. Each year, the final blend has varying percentages of each grape variety, and they in turn are sourced from several vineyard sites, resulting in intriguing blends that evolve from year to year. Chateau Musar is a wine that needs time in bottle and is usually kept in vats for several years by the Hochars before being released for sale. The white Chateau Musar is made in an oxidative style that can often divide opinion. For earlier-drinking, the second wines, labelled Hochar Père et Fils, are made in the same distinctive style and are a perfect introduction to the mighty Musar brand.
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"New leather shoes , polish, strawberry on the nose
Fine tannins and balanced acidity
Fills mouth with fruit all aspects of tongue long
Exceeds price point
Mr Ian Strang (10-Oct-2019)
The Observer (2nd Feb 2020)
"Like many people I
know, a lot of the food I’ve been eating so far this year could best be
described as vegan-curious and vaguely Ottolenghish. It’s a way of warding off
the dark and cold that feels healthier (or at least less stupefying) than rich
meaty stews, and which involves cooking with citrus fruits and Middle Eastern
herbs and spices, roasting aubergine and celeriac, and rediscovering the joys
of yoghurt and the chickpea. Given the origins of this sort of food in the
eastern Mediterranean, it’s not all that surprising that the wines that I crave
to go with it hail from a similar locale. From Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, for
example, the home of the Hochar family of Château Musar fame, who make this
gloriously warming, supple, rich but plum-tangy and subtly spicy (and vegan)
red from a blend of four southern French grape varieties grown in a single
sun-kissed vineyard. - David Williams"
The Scotsman (25th Jan 2020)
"From vineyards near
Aana in Bekaa Valley, made from 30-year-old vines - it tastes like a
mini-Musar. Exotic dates and spice aromas, cassis fruits, smooth, rounded with
elegant tannins and savoury depth. Matured in French oak for nine months, it
has a hint of smoking bonfires and tobacco. - Rose Murray Brown"
The Independent (11th Jan 2020)
"Vegan wines don’t
have to come from small or specifically ethical producers. The Lebanon’s
Chateau Musar, famous for its Bordeaux and southern French style blends made in
the heart of the Middle East, also makes vegan wines such as the Chateau Musar
Hochar 2016 (£13.50 thewinesociety.com; various independents) made from a mix
of carignan, grenache, cinsault and cabernet sauvignon, and is a typically
robust, rich, red, full of powerful flavours but with a definite something else
that comes from the location of the vineyard in the Bekaa Valley ... But [it
doesn't shout about] its vegan credentials on the label. - Terry Kirby"
The Simple Things (20th Nov 2019)
"Wines for Christmas
Dinner: This is a smooth, spicy and plump red wine from Lebanese producer
Chateau Musar. It works well with the exotic flavours of dates, parsnips,
orange and pomegranate, and yet stands up to the strong character of partridge,
bacon, red cabbage and, yes, even the sprouts!"
Rotherham Advertiser (13th May 2019)
second wine, a real mix of cinsault, carignan, cabernet sauvignon and grenache.
Delicious. - David Clay"
"Disappointing and expensive for what it is.- I have tasted other second wines from this Château Musar producer (Jeaune Rouge was excellent) but this wine whilst quite pleasant did not have the quality I would have expected from this source.
Momo Vendimia R d Duero 2015."
Mr Roger Whichelow (12-Mar-2019)
"Herbal, tar, another smell I can't identify, initially blackcurrant then prunes, silky texture with a bit spice on the finish. Finish not particularly long. I only decanted for about n hour and the wine was definitely getting better, Mr Francis' suggestion of a 2 to 3 hour decant is probably spot on. Very enjoyable and would definitely buy again."
Mr Gordon Allan (02-Feb-2019)
"Opened a bottle on Sunday 21st October, after consuming a bottle of the 2013.
The 2015 definitely needs more time. If pressed decant several hours (2 or 3) before drinking."
Mr Martin Francis (24-Oct-2018)
"Colour: Deep garnet fading to cherry red.
Aroma: Good intensity, cherry, raspberry, redcurrants, fruitcake, warming spices and iodine with hints of smoke, coffee and tobacco.
Taste: Spicy and rich, med+ body, solid tannic structure adding grip to the otherwise velvety texture. Coffee, black tea and sweet black fruits on the palate, med finish.
Overall: Different but none the worse for it, structure and balance but in an elegant subtle way, nothing loud, it just delivers. Opens up nicely after decanting (at least 2 hours). Great value and if this is their 2nd wine I can't wait to try its big brother (Château Musar)."
Mr Gabriel Higgins (01-Dec-2019)
"I don't think that I can give this five stars. Open to the air there is a fruity aroma but stick your nose in the glass and the overall impression is rather tar-like and medicinal. Initial tar and tannin quickly give way to a rich and intense fruitiness in the mouth. Dark fruits and strong savoury spiciness are at the heart of this wine with a slightly smokey and leathery dimension. Robust yes, but very enjoyable."
Mr Tom Lavercombe (30-Jun-2018)
"Left this a week too long to review really, tried but can't remember all the tasting notes! What I do remember is this seemed outstanding value for money. The wine is layered, complex and keeps on giving as you drink through. Subtle Clementines, cherries galore, vanilla hints, and fresh greens are the flavours that I remember to note!
5* for me because there are no finer wines available at this price point for me."
Mr Thomas Day (04-Jan-2018)
100 AWEsome Wines (1st Mar 2018)
"Chateau Musar wines
always provide a great talking point and ‘Hochar’, sometimes described as the
baby brother, is a great intro to the style. Rhône meets Bordeaux in the blend
with cinsault, grenache, cabernet and carignan. It’s a melting pot of dark and
red berries, cherry, dried fruit and aromatic spices with oak notes. - Carol Brown"
Decanter (3rd Jan 2018)
"A blend of grenache,
cabernet sauvignon and cinsault. The wine spent one year in cement tanks
followed by another in untoasted oak, of which 10% is new. Rich, intense forest
fruits, cassis and espresso join soft tannins and sweet spices. Elegant and
long. - Christelle Guibert"
"Beautiful and surprising - a great wine for a special occasion"
Mr Sam Broad (21-Jan-2018)
"Wow. A must have. can't recommend enough this one this vintage. Just Super. Overwhelmed with the quality of this wine. Will buy a case of 6 and keep it for a good number of years as this is something memorable to drink in 4 years time."
Mr Stelio Mabota (24-Dec-2017)
"Slightly sweeter than the 2011 to my palate, but still punching well above its weight. Superb value and a real talking-point of a wine."
Dr Lorin B Davies (05-Sep-2017)
Great value compared to the Chateau Musar we also bought (both very nice).
Mr Richard Simon (03-May-2017)
The Scotsman (2nd Sep 2017)
"From younger vines in
a single vineyard, if you are a fan of Chateau Musar you will find this baby
brother, made from a similar grape blend, is a bit tamer, lighter and softer.
Our tasters loved its plummy fruits and gentle spice note, but thought it lacked
the flavours often found in Musar. - Rose Murray Brown"
"Decant for 60mins, and pour, and you'll be mighty impressed, (straight from the bottle you'll be disappointed) A sort of sweet and sour nose, which slips into a stewed prunes with a touch of spice restained fruityness. It's different because its a wine but with very little tannin but it's pretty more-ish. We had it with pork mmm"
Mr James Brown (21-Aug-2015)
"For a second wine this is pleasingly refined and luxurious. Tasted as part of a blind tasting and was mistaken by a number of our party for a claret. The big difference here being the price. At £13.95 this outperforms much of the competition from Bordeaux, and also injects some interest from the fruity/herby bouquet. Great wine."
Dr Lorin B Davies (30-Mar-2015)
The Scotsman (17th Jan 2015)
"The 'second' wine of
Chateau Musar is softer, lighter and smoother with the addition of 30%
grenache. It has a shorter finish and less ageing potential than the top wine,
but still with a hint of figgy, damsony dried fruit and spice undertones. - Rose Murray Brown"
"A bit like a 'baby Musar' slightly lighter and less complex than its big brother but I still really like this wine. A quite marked farmyard smell greats you on first opening but relaxes with time to breath. Light in colour it has refreshingly good acidity, a decent mouthful of berry fruit and quite impressive complexity and length for a wine of this price. I thinking this is drinking really well now. Great with a slow roasted lamb shoulder with Merquez spices. Quite a lot of sediment so needs decanting."
Mr Christopher Moxon (01-Jun-2014)
"A wonderful rich style of wine, very chunky and one to sip and enjoy slowly by a glowing fire. Great value for the price in my opinion. I've not tried a real Musar yet but this one was enchanting enough. The real deal is on the shopping list, if drinking the real deal I'd recommend checking out the Musar website for drinking instructions first."
Mr Trevor Smith (03-Apr-2013)
"This is stunning and remarkable wine for its price. Hard to know why you'd buy Ch Musar!"
Mr Elliott Symes (11-Apr-2011)
"Like a Burgundy to look at and even a little on the nose. Wonderful velvety texture, very nicely balanced. A great buy."
Mr Robert Wade (26-Sep-2010)
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