Hochar, 2003

The wines of Château Musar are often thought of as a tad barking mad. At #EWBC 2008 in La Rioja, delegates were presented with a blind tasting. Not one person out of 50 odd wine buffs got even close to identifying this Lebanese woofer. So is it really so weird?

Hoch aye the NOO!

I bagged a bottle of the second wine, “Hochar” 2003 from the Wine Society at a reasonable £10.50.

It tastes like a cross between a Bordeaux and a Burgundy. Very subtle and fine tannins, some barnyard, and loads of fruit. A Pinot Noir on speed? The Bordeaux is represented by cherries and cedar wood.

Trouble is, it is not even close to barking mad. Actually it is quite classic French. But, it is priced at French levels, and that makes it a direct competitor.

If I am wrong, I have a couple of bottles of the first wine in my cellar which I can’t wait to try. If I am right then maybe I shouldn’t drink it at all, instead focus on finding the right moment to sell at enormous mark-up to a Chinese speculator, who will probably end up enjoying it with Coke when the fine wine market finally implodes.

9 Responses to “Hochar, 2003”

  1. Cesar Valverde Says:

    Surprising! I think it’s probably the only wine I’ve ever got right in a blind tasting.

    I hope it’s not the ’02 you’ve got… the last bottle of that I had was so wildly bretty and VA-y that I got nowhere near finishing it.

  2. The Sediment Blog Says:

    It’s certainly less weird than its parent, which often has a burnt flavour to it – not unattractive, but certainly weird. However, beware some of the other labels from the vineyard; as they’ve become more commercial, so several rather strange offspring have come on to the market; see our post at


  3. Alastair Bathgate Says:


    Just checked my Musar and that is also 2003.

    Sediment Blog – according to your post I can open that now, right?

  4. The Sediment Blog Says:

    Give it a go!

  5. Cesar Valverde Says:

    Pleased to hear it. I’ve only had one bottle of the ’03, but it was a much more reasonable beast. Enjoy!

  6. Confessions of a Wino » Blog Archive » Domaine Tempier, La Migoua, 2006 Says:

    […] Confessions of a Wino Deliciously Hedonistic « Hochar, 2003 […]

  7. Henry Jeffreys Says:

    At the 04 at Al Waha on Westbourne Grove last week and it tasted very Lebanese – very sweet, some cinnamon and plenty of vinegar – delicious!

  8. Henry Jeffreys Says:

    I meant had not at.

  9. Simon Woolf Says:

    Hi Alaistair,

    You are both right and wrong. I have tried to explain why on my blog here: http://www.themorningclaret.com/2011/chateau-musar-1995/ (a rather old post with an awful photo that I need to do something about, but hey).

    If you haven’t got time to read the post, my point is that Musar blends old world classicism with new world panache and boldness.

    I’m a big fan of the grand vin, it does improve with keeping – my current favourite drinking vintage is 1991. The 1995 is really only just coming into its prime, I would say. The Hochars would agree – they reckon 30 years is about right before most vintages reach maturity.

    Very much enjoying your blog btw, look forward to meeting at #EWBC2011!


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