KC Star Story Reflects on Lessons Learned From Late Lebanese Wine Legend


This past December saw the passing of Lebanese winemaker and beloved industry voice Serge Hochar, a man whose passion for wine put Lebanese vino on the map.
Yesterday, Kansas City Star contributor Doug Frost, a Master Sommelier and Master of Wine, offered a few lessons he  learned from the life of the Lebanese Master whose enthusiasm and knowledge won him countless friends in the wine business.
Frost began his story with a description of one of Hochar's trips to Kansas City in which he offered tastings of his Chateau Musar wines. 
“Scurrying around in the backroom getting wines decanted and ready, Serge was always instructing me – I was happy to learn everything I could from him,” Frost wrote. “And it wasn't just tasks he was teaching, it was more like life lessons.”
Frost told of the time Hochar recounted a moment during the Lebanese civil war.
“He sat through one particularly frightening bombardment drinking a bottle of 1972 Musar, giving his fate over to God while the rest of his neighbors huddled in a bomb shelter.”
Hochar taught Frost the importance of inspecting every glass of wine for complete perfection, a daunting task as the two and other helpers prepared hundreds of glasses of wine for tasting.
“I remember being upbraided for my lack of diligence and, because it was Serge, I could only react by nodding and saying, 'OK, what should I be doing differently,'” he wrote. 
Though Hochar's dedication to perfection was impressive, Frost said the Musar maven's belief in his work was the most awe-inspiring aspect of the man.
“It was Serge's ironclad belief in the importance of his work that was most persuasive,” Frost wrote. “He would brush away the hushed awe when people found out that he and his team had risked their lives to make these wines.”
The vitality of wine, Hochar would say, was more important than any personal narrative.
“No, what was more important to him was that the wine was alive. 'Wine is a living thing,' he would always say,” Frost wrote at the end of his article. “Serge taught me and so many others to respect that amazing ability for wine to reflect time, place and people in malleable evolution. I hope that Serge can rest easy … known that he made a thousand disciples, each of us trying to remember to seek life in a glass of wine.”
Photo Credit: Kitchen Guerilla

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