The land of milk and honey and maverick reds

Posted by Joelle Thomson on

Lebanon is a country in crisis, which was one of the key points of discussion at a fascinating tasting last week in Wellington at Boulcott Street Bistro. The tasting was of Chateau Musar, one of the worlds most inspiring wineries, situated in an old castle in Ghazir, 25 kilometres north of Beirut. It is inspiring because, despite being in an active war zone in a country beset with economic and political woes, its winemaking continues to rise in quality.  

The company was founded in 1930 by Gaston Hochard Snr, who was the grandfather of Ralph Hochar, who was the host of the tasting in Wellington last week. Ralph has visited New Zealand many times but the last time he came here, his country was still in a functional state with its currency level pegging with the USA dollar. Today, Lebanon is in a financial crisis with most of the population having experienced a major nose dive in their living conditions, few people able to access their bank accounts and very little consistent power. But Chateau Musar continues to make exceptional, maverick styles of wine that are unusually good and unusually different. 

The winery started when Gaston Senior was tiring of his medical profession in 1926 and, with a love of wine, he planted vines in the Bekaa Valley in 1929, which were the seeds of the brand. Today there are about 2500 hectares of grapes in Lebanon; an increase over the past 25 years. Chateau Musar has about 180 hectares but it is not the biggest producer. 

The wines are exceptional and made from unconventional blends of French grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan and Syrah blends. These grapes may not typically be blended together but they work surprisingly well, given that they come from two of France's great wine regions; Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley but are not usually blended together. The wines are definitely in the category of must-try for red wine lovers. 

We have an order on the way, which we expect to arrive mid June.

Customers who are keen on Chateau Musar wines can buy what we do have currently in stock or continue to read our weekly newsletter.

Buy Chateau Musar wines here


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