2009 Château Musar "Hochar Père et Fils" Red Blend Bekaa Valley
Wine & Spirits
A blend of 50 percent Cinsault with Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, this comes off a vineyard planted 3,280 feet above sea level more than half a century ago. Cinsault’s sour cherry flavor and light, gauzy texture headline the wine, while darker notes of earth, smoke and berry fruit remain in the background. The balance completely upends the usual expectations, the wine more about fragrance than weight, in the most delightful, palate-whetting way. Play it up with salmon seasoned with sumac.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Hochar Pere et Fils is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan aged in French oak. For those familiar only with Musar's reputation as a producer of powerful wines likely to age indefinitely and hard to encounter young, this mid-level offering will change perceptions. Very fruity, sweet and velvety on opening, it seemed to be a relatively soft wine with modest concentration and a fleshy and forward feel, something that will appeal easily to modern drinkers with little resistance. This seemed mostly about the sexy fruit on opening. Early on, it finished not only sweet, but even with a little candy. It needed a couple of hours of aeration to show a bit more stuffing, pulling in some of the sweet fruit while displaying a bit of complexity and a bit of steel underneath. At that point, it was far more interesting and impressive. Overall, this still is ultimately a rather sexy beast, even if it manages to maintain a suave and elegant mid-palate. Don't be fooled, by the way: with air, more tannic pop arrives. Drink now-2020. (MS)
Winemaker notes: "Hochar Père et Fils Red has been described as the 'second' wine of Château Musar, and it does bear some resemblance to the 'Grand Vin': rich, spicy and profoundly fruity, with a mellow quality derived from lengthy oak- and bottle ageing. Since its launch in the late 1980s, it has been sourced from a single Bekaa Valley vineyard planted in the 1940s. When young, the wines are robust and aromatic, with baked plum, warm earth, leather, thyme and dark chocolate characters. With age they become tawnier and spicier." The Hochar family settled in the high-altitude Bekaa Valley (3,000 feet above sea level, and flanked by snow-covered mountains) in the 12th century. But they are newcomers compared to the grape: viticulture here dates back some 6,000 years. Farming and winemaking are carried out with minimal intervention and sulfuring.