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A Cinsault-Heavy Blend from Lebanon - Château Musar's Bekaa Valley Red Hochar Père et Fils 2018 - Craves a Garlic-Heavy Dish or Three #Winophiles


This month, I am hosting the French #Winophiles to explore French grapes that crossed continents. You can read my invitation here. If you are reading this early enough, feel free to jump in on our live chat. We'll be on Twitter on Saturday, September 17th at 8am Pacific time. Follow the hashtag #Winophiles and be sure to add that to anything you tweet so we can see it.

Here's the line-up of the articles for the event - French Grapes that Crossed Continents. These will all be live between Friday, September 16th and Saturday, September 17th before the chat...
A Cinsault-Heavy Blend from Lebanon

Cinsault is one of the quintessential grapes of Southern France. The grape flourishes in the hot Mediterranean sun, and is ubiquitous in the Rhône Valley, Languedoc, Roussillon, and beyond. Rarely a made into a single varietal, it's most often blended with Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, and even Counoise.

In Italy, Cinsault goes by the name Ottovianello. I was on the hunt for a bottle, but realized that didn't really fit my stated theme of "French grapes that crossed continents." I know that colonialism has gotten lots of air time recently with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, but one of the benefits for us wine-loving folks: colonialism played a major role in spreading Cinsault into Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon. In all of those places, it was typically blended with other grapes that also thrive in the heat.

You can now find Cinsault in Australia, California - I poured a bottle from Los Osos! More on that soon... - Washington State, Chile, and South Africa where it's called Hermitage.

Well, I got my hands on a Cinsault-heavy blend from Lebanon to share today. It's the Château Musar Hochar Père et Fils 2018 from the Bekaa Valley. Apparently this estate's wine is easy for me to source as I've paired wines from Château Musar before. In #WinePW's January 2016 event, I shared Lubyee Bi Lahmi + Château Musar Jeune. And in May 2021, I posted Man'oushe + Château Musar Lebanon Jeune Red 2017.

But it's the first time I've poured the Hochar Père et Fils whose grapes are sourced from vineyards near the village of Aana in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. Hochar is a blend of 50% Cinsault, 35% Grenache, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fermented in cement vats, the wine spends 6 months in French oak barrels. 

The wine poured a clear ruby color with lots of red and black fruit aromas on the nose. On the palate, those fruit notes were joined by hints of black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and violets.

Cinsault and Cinsault-based blends are versatile and food-friendly. I was initially thinking of Mediterranean dishes with olive and eggplant. But the spiciness allows it to stand up to heartier fare and I decided to pair it with some garlic-heavy dishes: Garlic Roasted Chicken, Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Blistered Beans with Garlic Olive Oil.

Garlic Roasted Chicken

This is just my go-to roasted chicken stuffed with many cloves of garlic and lemon, rubbed with butter and sprinkled with garlic salt, and so much more garlic. It will keep vampires at bay, I promise!


  • 4 pound whole chicken, with giblets and neck removed from cavity
  • three or four lemons, halved
  • 10 to 12 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • one or two whole heads of garlic, halved
  • small bunch of herbs
  • two or three carrots, sliced to the width of your roasting pan
  • three to four stalks celery, sliced to the width of your roasting pan
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup wine
  • garlic salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2  to 3 Tablespoons freshly chopped herbs
  • Also needed: 100% cotton twine; roasting pan or Dutch oven


Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place sliced carrots and celery in the bottom of your roasting pan or Dutch oven to create a "rack" of sorts.

Stuff the chicken cavity with halved citrus and garlic cloves. Wedge the bunch of herbs side, then truss the chicken with 100% cotton twine and place it on top of the carrot-celery rack.

Rub the chicken with the softened butter. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper and freshly chopped herbs. Nestle the halves of the garlic around the chicken. Drizzle the olive oil and wine over the chicken.

Place the chicken, uncovered, in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Baste the chicken and return it to the oven for another 30 minutes. Baste one more time and roast it for another 20 to 30 minutes until the skin is crisped and golden brown.

Let the roasted chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes are a family favorite. Just use your favorite recipe for mashed potatoes, but mash in 1 or 2 roasted garlic cloves per potato used. If you have never roasted garlic, here's my process. I think this bowl used 6 potatoes and 12 cloves of garlic!

Blistered Beans with Garlic Olive Oil

I picked up these beans at a local farmstand because I loved the color. Little did I know they wouldn't stay purple after cooking. Boo. But they were still delicious. Read how I make Blistered Beans in this post. Or watch me make it on the CulinaryCam YouTube Channel.

As I already mentioned, my beans lost that gorgeous purple color, but they were still delicious. That's a wrap for my #Winophiles September post. The group will be back in October when Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm hosts our event: Fall in France. Stay tuned.


  1. Oh my gosh. I am making this whole meal soon! Wow, garlic lovers dream right here.

  2. I really enjoy the black pepper and cloves notes in Cinsault and imagine they'd be perfect with garlicky dishes. Nice pairing!


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