Since I am at the bottom of the proverbial totem-pole in my department, I have graciously accepted all of the “Sorry for dumping all of our shit on you” Christmas gifts I’ve received so far. I struggled, however, to think of what was appropriate to give back to everyone. I’m in a tight little team and, despite our occasional grievances, we generally act like a family weathering out a persistent and often destructive storm (ratings). My ultimate decision was to write out a lengthy holiday card thanking everyone for bringing me into the fold and entrusting me with new responsibilities, one of which has been assisting with our office’s ramshackle wine classes.
My boss is a certified sommelier (three bottles deep into our last class he admitted to once running his own Geocities wine blog, which is like, wow hey there 2002) and tries to do blind tastings with a handful of Syfy’s employees to introduce the uninitiated to things other than Barefoot Cab Sav. My growing knowledge often paints me as a oenophile Hermione Granger, but it also grants me access to a few gems not shared with class, like his all time favorite winery: Chateau Musar.
Chateau Musar is Cult Wine. Seriously, people lose their shit over Serge Hochar’s wines, to the point where there are lengthy reddit threads about whether Musar’s Bekaa Valley vineyards are what used to be Eden. I’ve not been privy to the older vintages of Musar, but as Hochar himself put it, Musar’s “whites are [my] greatest reds.” These wines are funky and thought-provoking, they defy classification even though they are made with a blend of familiar grapes like cabernet sauvignon and carignan (plus a few indigenous varietals and heaping portion of cinsault). These wines are like a Miranda July film distilled into a glass.
Musar is notoriously difficult to find (and $$$), but there are entry-level versions of his wines which are just as magical, particularly around the holiday season, that I insist you search out. “Musar Jeune” (which comes in red and white, although in this case the red is the superior) has an elegant nose but crazy spice on the first sip, waking you up before sliding effortlessly down your throat. It goes with pretty much anything (the tannins are sultry) but it is also a red wine that you can Olivia Pope with, hunkering down into your own personal Netflix and Chill.
Price? – $21.99
Grapes? – Cinsault, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon