From Lebanon, Bottles That Reward Diving Below the Surface


Ramzi Ghosn was kind enough to chime in to Wine School. “Lebanon will rise again because our heritage is anchored in this wine heritage of hard work, tolerance, generosity and perseverance,” he said.

Musar Jeune, a more immediately accessible bottle than Chateau Musar’s flagship wine, which requires aging, was also easy to drink now, though it had a classic dry austerity that the easygoing Massaya did not.

I felt the syrah component immediately, with savory, spicy olive notes in the aromas. On the richly flavored palate, the syrah harmonized with the fruitiness of the cinsault and the tannins and herbal flavors of the cabernet. Perhaps I’m too open to suggestion, but I couldn’t help sensing a flavor of za’atar, a Middle Eastern blend of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds.


It’s virtually impossible for me to separate the experience of drinking any Musar wine from memories of Serge Hochar, who was the central figure in “Wine and War.”


“Your interpretation of a wine depends on your identity, on your soul, on your body,” he said in the movie. “This is how you learn to taste life, slowly.”

With the Lebanese market for wine largely destroyed by the civil war that broke out in 1975, Mr. Hochar traveled widely around the world, building a market for Musar while promoting the culture of Lebanon. Joe Saade, a Lebanese winemaker whose label, Terre Joie, is not yet available in the United States, commented that he was inspired by Musar to go into wine.

“Its distinctiveness is what tells me that Lebanese wines should become an unmissable wine category,” he said.

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