Thursday, January 1, 2015

I Am Both Sorry And Saddened To Hear Of The Recent Passing Of Serge Hochar Of His Own Family's CHATEAU MUSAR In Lebanon : Some Of My Recollections Of Time Spent In His Company

I AM GREATLY SADDENED TO HEAR OF  Serge Hochar's passing .

The picture above I took at Zaytinya at a private luncheon for trade wine profeesionals and Chris Pigott of the Country Vintners' Imports invited me and I was thrilled to go and sit here with Serge and Jose, ony, erry, Sotiris and a few others - we were no more than ten. It was one of the luncheons of a lifetime for me. Merci Serge, thanks Chris for inviting me!

There are more pictures that I will include leter, including those where he was at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits doing an in-store wine-tasting including pouring from a magnum of the 1985 I believe? Cheers.

 I was just talking about him and his CHAEAU MUSAR and HOCHAR wines yesterday on New Year's Eve 2014 to a ' new ' customer, Ellie, that came to the store and was brousing the Bordeaux wines, and on each time I asked her if she needed any help she said politely, firmly ' no." Then an old young customer, a beaming, smiling man greets me with a bih ' hello ' and praises me to the hilt in front of Ellie before introducing me to her. He told of his family, of all those that I had helped and for Ellie to trust me implicitly! Thank you. Everyone smiled, he left to go onto his party and Ellie and I were finally off to discuss what she might want, what she might need? urns out her boyfried, ot friend that is a boy likes Greek and also Lebanese wines and that Ellie finds them weak and watery and bland and ' wanting. " I immediately defend both and we go look at Lebanaes wines first, and then Greek, and I sell her one of each as well as a bottle of Bordeaux red and now all we have to do is wait and see? I tell her od Serge, how he had been in the store twice and tasted with customers. I told her that he said he was not coming anymore, I spoke of Zytinya restaurant and how he was there and I should have made the connection of Greek wines there as well as his Lebanese wines, too? Sotiris Bafitis was there that afternoon for lunch. So was Jose Andres and Tony, Terry, Chris Pigott, me - a very small group to taste above in the restaurant and enjoy so many MUSAR wines and so many tasty tapa-style morsels of delicious food , and rampant, flowing, animated and smiling and cheerful conversation, too : a long table for us spread to the max with bottles and foods and so much good cheer and warmth. One of the events of my life : two-three hours of pure joy that I will always treasure and never regret. Serge told me at the last tasting there that he was planning for that to be his last visit and send his son in his place. I have never met his son. Cheers to you Serge, thank you for all the great wines and great memories... you are the real thing, the man with a dream and passion and a mission you carried out and got us all on board with you. TONY   Thursday, January 1st, 2015   I will drink and toast to your life Serge and look now forward to meeting your son.

Wonderful, a more modern style, rounder, fuller. more weight and body, a thicker base like a young, vigorous tree trunk that is successfully pushing up and out, that is very appealing and enjoyable, this 2011, but that lacks for me yet the developed flavors that will come as these columns of flavors marry and dance, mingle and cavort and conspire together more as a community and neighborhood of flavors and less like youthful tastes that still do not have the experience that will add richness. more highs and lows and more ' flesh ' to unite the whole. it will be easy to sell and recommend because, as a whole, it presents itself auite well, and many will be charmed and become quite smitten with it. i see. taste and recognize all of that, bt i M holding out for what more age and time will add to this, all those mature and nuanced flavors that will develop weight and promal, living authority. cheers, je pense a toi serge! merci beaucoup mon ami! tony. 1/4/2015

I drank some last night of the Musar Jeune 2011 CHAEAU MUSAR Lebanese dry red blend that I have been talking about recently and I took a glass outside in the cold and dark while grilling our salmon filet and brrrrrr, it was cold and the 2011 really had opened since the night before : it was so much fuller , richer, rounder and more bright and less edgy and frui-forward, visible! I liked it so much better last night, I really did. In fact I enjoyed it last night and would drink more if it tasted like that and so I am thrilled I waited to see what the extra time open in the bottle would do.

 For me it turned the wine around, it made it a pleasure to drink and not an exercise. I am sorry to put it this way, it is only my palate and myopinion but I stand by it. This leads me to believe that though drinkable as I said when first open that , if I was going to drink it again on the first night that I would definitely decant the wine so that more of what I tasted yesterday would be present.

 It also makes me think that I was correct that the wine needs to be cellared another three to five years to maximize all that can be had from this 2011. I am tempted to buy another bottle and to see what would happen with some wine left in the bottle for the third day to see how much more flavor would develop, how many more nuances of flavor, how much more silk and elegance, fire and spice and herb would all manifest and add to the solid core of sweet plum and prune flavors that I got last night, almost like a jam-paste last night that was liquid-solid and holding it-s form and adding body and fruit-thickness but not too much sweetness, just enough?

All good, merci Serge Hochare for this effort. I am glad to have enjoyed it this weekend and sip some with our grilled salmon filet, rice and corn last night. Cheers, happy Tuesday all, be careful driving in today's snow as it is so cold, brrrrr.... 1/6 /2015

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