Please help me get started with Chateau Musar

Hi all,

Pretty new in drinking wines that don’t come from a grocery store and I’ve always been intrigued by Musar. Obviously it’s a very unique place and wine so I was wondering how you would recommend getting started in figuring out if we like their wines, which vintages to look to buy, (sounds like there is a fair amount of vintage variability), etc without breaking the bank? Thanks!

Not sure what your preferences are, but it’s a gutsy to jump from grocery store to Musar. More than happy to be an enabler, though! I’d recommend an older vintage–say '99 if you can find it. Musar, even their whites, tend to do better with quite a bit of age. So, if a more recent vintage is more convenient to source, I’d recommend tasting every so often while it decants to follow its progress. In just a few years since our first Musar experience, they are now the 6th largest holding in our cellar.

One serious note of caution–there is a lot of talk about possible storage issues from bottles not imported by Broadbent. Look at the import label to see who brought it in. I historically would only buy if Broadbent was the importer. I believe VinConnect (a company that is represented here on the board) now imports as well–haven’t purchased through them yet.

You called?

If you want to check out how the recent vintages have performed, may I suggest going through these two threads first? Those should be quite helpful, because the vintages that are older than those mentioned are starting to break the bank.

Red Musars: TN: Chateau Musar 2012-1997 vertical - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers
White Musars: TN: Chateau Musar Blanc vertical 2010-1992 - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers

Chateau Musar Hochar is also a pretty solid wine, but the Musar Jeunes offer very little of interest.

We’ve taken a few steps up from grocery stores the past year or so but yes this would be a big leap forward. We like, don’t love Bordeaux, really like Northern and Southern Rhone, love Napa Cab and like a lot of Washington State reds and have enjoyed a few Riojas lately. Appreciate the heads up in importers and will keep an eye on that. I think we’ll end up starting with a more recent vintage so we’ll follow that plan

Otto- thank you! That’s perfect. Sounds like a great day of drinking, I’ll swing by next time! Trying a Hochar early on sounds like a good idea as well

99 is exceptional, but yea, quite the jump!

+1 on the Chateau Musar Hochar Pere e Fils (HPF). It’s a great introduction to Musar, more affordable, and an intro into the funkiness of the Chateau range. It’s like a baby Musar red, kinda like Rosso di Montalcino is to Brunello.

I’ll be a contrarian. The chateau Musar wines are excellent, but I’ve always found the Hochar père et fils bottlings to be a completely different style, and more modernist. I always prefer the jeune, which is simpler than the top cuvée but still enjoyable and in a similar style. Still, no replacement for the Chateau Musar rouge.

I would recommend the 2006. Current release, widely available, not too expensive for Musar, and showing more than just primary fruit. Of course older vintages may be better, but the 2006 is a good place to start. 2010 also, but that’s more primary.

I also love the whites with age, and the rose both young and old.

How does Hochar seem modernist in your opinion? After all, the winemaking there is exactly the same and the only way it differs from the Musar proper is where the fruit is sourced from and the élevage, which is only 9 months in oak (compared to the approximately 24 months of its “bigger” sibling).

There can be a difference in the actual winemaking and how the wine comes across. I tasted the oak on the Hochar whereas it never seems like a big component of the grand vin.

I will say that my experience with Musar’s grand vin is significant, but the Hochar Père et Fils is very limited. Mostly because I like the grand vin so much, and it’s not that much more expensive. So maybe I had a few bad experiences with Hochar vs. many, many good ones with the grand vin.


I, too, have quite a bit of experience with Musar’s grand vin and relatively little with Hochar. I’ve had a handful of Hochar vintages, tasted both blind and open, yet can’t remember ever tasting any much oak in Hochar than in Musar proper - and I am rather sensitive to oak.

Maybe I need to re-taste a Hochar, since I haven’t had one in a few years - and perhaps you might need to do the same for re-evaluation?

Fair enough, though I’ve only had Hochar at tastings. I try to put my money towards the chateau Musar. If I find an opportunity post-Covid, I’ll definitely give it another shot.

But don’t write off the jeune bottlings. For their price and to drink now, they are very enjoyable. I with more restaurants had it on their by the glass list, as it’s a perfect candidate for that.

I enjoy all of the red bottlings but they are all distinctively different-- from blend to everthing else.

The Hochar imo DOES have a sleek feel while the Jeune is crunchy. I wouldn’t go so far as “modernist” but I’d think the Hochar would be the best transition/intro. The Jeune, while cheaper, is more difficult to “get” and probably farther from “grocery” store in its aestetchic.

I’d also add that the Hochar and Jeune bottlings ALSO vary quite a bit from vintage and of course ALSO benfit from time in the cellar. The 2016 Jeune is probably my best in 2020… 2018 is a different beast and not good at this stage.

Personally I’m with the people who say try the C. Musar withoutnfirst fiddling around with the the less expensive offerings, you might love it (like I do), you might hate it (like some I could mention), you might find it fascinating or puzzling but you’re unlikely to find it boring,

99 and 2000 are both drinking really well now, for more I’d recent vintages I’d trust Otto.

Oh, and don’t forget to give them air! Or at least follow a bottle over several hours.

I don’t notice oak as much as some people, but I very much agree that the Hochar comes across as far more modern, for whatever reason. The only way to get to know Chateau Musar is by drinking Chateau Musar, in my opinion.

There have been many threads on Musar and vintages. It’s worth doing some searching and reading. My very brief response to the OP is that 1999 Rouge would be an excellent starting point, but many other vintages could serve just as well. Really getting to know the wine requires trying several vintages.

I would also recommend the Hochar to get a feel. It will give you a taste and let you know if you want to try more. Many of the bottlings of the ‘grand vin’ you find out there might be a bit young.

I don’t think it’s more “modern” at all. You could call closer to primary and less mature. Most ‘grand vin’ is in barrel and bottle aged longer so it’s going to have a mature character.

Commercial Alert – we do indeed work with Chateau Musar, and manage their direct-to-consumer mailing list in the U.S. We work through Broadbent Imports who is their national importer (and has been for quite some time), so anything though the list comes from them.

One important note if you’re starting to get into Musar is that older vintages can sometimes have wonky corks that are prone to breaking upon extraction with a normal corkscrew. Proprietor Marc Hochar always recommends using an Ah-So to open Musar bottles if you have one (or a Durand).

For sure. Musar transforms more, and in a more interesting way, than any wine I can think of. You want to have a bottle over the course of a long evening, and it will be like tasting three or more (all very good) wines as it evolves.

It’s easy to miss the evolution, since the phase 1 right after you open it is usually quite good too. But patience with the bottle will be rewarded.

This seems timely - 2002 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Lebanon

I have no idea if 2002 is a good vintage, but good recent notes in CT. Might be worth a flyer and you can save $50 if it’s your first Wine Access order: Friendbuy - Forwarding To Destination

Between buying a 6-pack (gaining a wine access % discount) plus $50 off new purchase plus $50 refund from Amex perks wineaccess deal, my per bottle total was ~40 per bottle.

Well worth a flier on aged Musar.