Chateau Musar is a renowned wine producer based in Ghazir, Lebanon, just north of the capital Beirut, producing a range of wines from vineyards in the Bekaa Valley, and best-known for its eponymous grand vin: Chateau Musar. Gaston Hochar set up the vinery after traveling through Bordeaux, and today the old vineyards are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut, Carignan and indigenous Lebanese grapes Obaideh and Merwah.
In 1959, Hochar's son Serge took control of the vineyards, having returned from Bordeaux where he was studying enology. The vineyard suffered during the Lebanese Civil War (two vintages were lost or damaged), and Hochar began to look beyond the domestic market.
The wine began to gain recognition after Michael Broadbent MW wrote about it in Decanter magazine in 1979 and by the time the war ended in 1990 just a small fraction of Chateau Musar's production was sold locally.
Musar's flagship red wine, made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsaut, is the most important wine made in Lebanon. It is fermented in concrete, aged for one year in French oak and then rested in the Musar cellars for at least three years before release – sometimes many more. It is famous for its great (intentional) vintage variation, and is highly collectable.
The 2005 vintage is a deep blood red colour with a smoky, spicy, nose of black fruits, toasted bread, dark chocolate and cigar box – an impressive fragrance of fruits and spices. The palate is well structured; full of black and red fruits such as cherries, blackcurrants and prunes with a hint of dark chocolate and fresh tea leaves. The finish is long and fine with velvety tannins.