Sunday, 13 January 2013

Hochar Père et Fils, Chateau Musar

Hochar Père et Fils is the second wine of the famous Chateau Musar. Musar is a Lebanese wine, established in 1930 by Gaston Hochar and now continued by his sons (hence the name 'Père et Fils'). There is a fabulous story of Serge Hochar, the son currently in charge of wine production, spending an evening during a particularly savage bout of shelling in the Lebanese Civil War (which ran from 1975-1990) tasting one of his finest vintages. Despite pleas to go to a bomb shelter, Serge poured an entire bottle of Chateau Musar 1972 into a glass and spent the subsequent 12 hours tasting it and meticulously noting its development.

As a result, it was with some interest that I bought some of the main label Chateau Musar (still in the cellar, waiting to be drunk) and the second label, Père et Fils, which set me back £12. I am reliably informed that this is produced in a slightly lighter and more accessible style than the full Chateau Musar, so I was excited about the prospect of getting to know the style of wine of this famous Chateau. This was one of the first wines I had properly 'tasted', so it was difficult to articulate some of the flavours.

Nose: The aroma was somewhat unpleasant to my nose. There was a heavy dose of resin (some described it as 'nail polish') which was quite off-putting and which rather dominated the nose. There was also a slightly sour hint of it with citrus (rather rare in a red!) leading some of us to describe the wine as smelling of pear drops.

Palate: A complete contrast to the nose, the palate is light with some slightly musty red fruit and a more restrained version of the pear drops found in the aroma. It balances quite nicely and is certainly dangerously easy to drink. It has a very Middle-Eastern feel to it with dates, figs and spices giving it a slight hint of a Moroccan marketplace (I haven't been to Lebanon, so Morocco will have to do!).

Body: As I had been advised, this was a lighter wine and the body was medium, with pleasantly smooth tannins.

Finish: Very short and fades away almost instantly. This could be a characteristic of the fact that Musar often releases its wines 3-4 years after production to ensure that they are drinkable - meaning they are often of a good age by the time they get to the table. Nothing unpleasant in the finish, so all in all a positive experience.

Conclusion: An enjoyable table wine that is fairly-priced and accessible. Some may be put off by the aroma (I'll have to re-taste to ensure I wasn't tasting a corked one) but the taste was enjoyable. I hope that my Musar 2004 will be in the same vein!

Points: I gave it 6.5+/20 which I think equates to somewhere around 84.

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