In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar, inspired by Lebanon's 6,000 year winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. His 'wines with noblesse' greatly impressed senior officers in the army following on from the French mandate of the 1920s. Major Ronald Barton, of Château Langoa-Barton, stationed in Lebanon during World War II became a great friend, strengthening the links between Chateau Musar and Bordeaux that remain to this day. Flanked by snow-covered mountains, and nestled at 1000m (3,000 feet) above sea level, the serenely beautiful Bekaa Valley is blessed with 300 days of sunshine a year, fresh mountain breezes and an average temperature of 25°C (encompassing snowy winters and hot summers). Remote and unspoilt, the Musar vineyards were ‘organic’ by default before the term was coined.
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 late 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.