2009 Château Musar "Hochar Père et Fils" Red 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.
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. Winemaker notes: "Hochar Père et Fils Red has been described as the 'second' wine of Chateau 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."