Musar has survived both war and the commercial wilderness to assume its rightful place as one of the few truly iconic wines - a legend of the eastern Mediterranean. Why? Because it is uncompromising, unique and endlessly fascinating.

Musar's grapes are grown in the Bekaa valley, the ‘bread basket’ of ancient Rome, and transported over the high coastal range to the Hochar (pronounced 'Hoshar') family.

The most famous wine, Chateau Musar red, is a varying blend of old vine, low yielding Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan. Fermentation is in concrete, before the wine spends a year in the vat, then a year or so in French Nevers oak. It's blended in the third year, put back into vat and bottled, and cellared for up to six or seven years before release. There is no fining, minimum filtration and sulphites are kept very low. The whole approach is low-interventionist and the result is truly unique, and very long-lived.

The other wines include Chateau Musar white, a blend of ancient Lebanese grape varieties which is just as unusual and ageworthy as the red. Hochar red is the little brother to Chateau Musar red, made in a similar style but designed to be more approachable in its youth. The relatively recent Musar Jeune range (a red, a white and a rosé) is in a different style altogether: unoaked, fresh-tasting and ready to drink on release.

The Hochars are not looking for varietal or fruit aromas, they wants their wines to speak to them – of the place it comes from and of all that went into it. As the late Serge Hochar said, “If it doesn’t talk to me, I stop drinking. I’m not interested in a wine that’s been killed by technology, I want one that vibrates, a true wine.”

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Chateau Musar - a chosen few from us

Chateau Musar 2004

£27 £22.95

Musar has assumed legendary status. Complex, long-lived and endlessly varied, in some vintages it seems more like a Burgundy, in others a Bordeaux, in still others a Hermitage. But it is always brilliantly, uniquely, Lebanese.

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