My kind of Serge

Serge & Mike

Serge Hochar with Mike Dombrow at Sunfish Cellars.


Traveling a lot means missing out on some seriously swell wine events. The most painful one in recent years was an appearance by the inimitable Serge Hochar at Sunfish Cellars. The Chateau Musar maestro has since slipped the surly bonds of Earth, heightening my angst over the missed opportunity.

So I’ve been reading interviews and profiles of the man recently, and have culled some quotes that (I hope) capture his essence:

Serge• “This is a living wine and I am living man, and when we come together — even around all this death [in his native Lebanon] — it is a relationship between two living beings. And this is the most important thing a person can ever experience — this feeling of life meeting life. Do you understand? Life meeting life. This is the only thing that matters.”

• “I know nothing about wine. I know how to make wine, but I know nothing about wine, and each day I discover that I know less.”

• “Wine is communication. … We agree on one word to use, but sometimes the meaning of that word for each of us is different. This is how we can communicate more clearly: through wine.”

• “Wine is away from air for so long. When you open it, it wakes up. As it wakes up, it starts to show its soul. … A wine of experience — an old wine — has an endless speech. It can talk to you for hours. You have to learn to listen. For me, each wine is an individual and has characteristics. I try to understand. I try to listen. Each wine will tell you something, will give itself to you. The wine will talk to me, will give me an impression, will touch my different feelings. If you feel the wine with emotion, it opens windows in your brain.”

Musar• “After one sip, go back. The wine will have something new to show you. You are changing by the minute. So is the wine. You are evolving, aging by the minute, as is the wine. The wine is a companion for you in this.”

• “When a wine knows you are paying attention, it will reveal things to you that you would not believe. The things this wine revealed, this made me think of all my memories, of my whole life. Then I would take another sip, and it would give me more.”

• “[Wine has] the ability to grow younger as it grows older.”

• “Since I was young, I have always been confronted to try to understand that disturbing complexity called life. Now I believe that I have come to understand life through the wine. When I bring the yeast to the wine, when I see that union and its offspring, I can see that life — more than anything — is an eternal impulse to create. Life wants to live. Life wants to meet with life. Life wants to create more life. That is all there is. That is where the answers to all my questions are. That is where I can look for God.”


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