Show 108, January 31, 2015: Chateau Musar of Lebanon

Chateau MusarLebanon, one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world, is the home to an ancient wine-grape growing area, the Bekaa Valley. There is 6,000 years of winemaking tradition there. The most prominent winery in Lebanon with a hard-earned international reputation is Chateau Musar. Serge Hochar is the larger-than-life personality behind Chateau Musar.

Chateau Musar, founded by Serge’s father, was established back in 1930. Hochar revived the winery and traveled over the globe promoting the wines. In 1979 at a tasting in Great Britain wine critic Michael Broadbent tasted the 1967 Musar and declared it a “great find.”

The success of Chateau Musar aided in the establishment of the contemporary wine industry in Lebanon. He skillfully guided and grew the winery through over a turbulent decade of civil war in Lebanon.

Eric Asimov (The New York Times greatly respected wine writer) points out in a recent piece on Chateau Musar that when the civil war ended in 1990 there were five wineries operating in Lebanon. By 2014 there were almost 50.

There is a sad footnote to this piece. Hochar, at age 75, tragically passed away early last month while vacationing in Acapulco. Fortunately the winery is now in the capable hands of his two sons and nephew, representing the third generation of Family ownership.

Sommelier Christopher Lavin of Broadbent Selections (they represent the winery in the USA) joins us to share the incredible story of Chateau Musar.