Have you heard of the region of Lirac? It’s possible you haven’t because not a lot of wine is exported from there but if you can find them, you’ll have your hands on excellent wines from the south of France. They are a bit of a Sommelier secret!
Where is Lirac?
The Lirac AOC is located in the Southern Rhône Valley of France, named after the village of Lirac. It is situated along the right bank of the Rhône river and is one of the 13 crus of the Rhône Valley. You may know the cru region of Tavel, famous for its Rosé wines, Lirac borders Tavel and across the river bank is the world-famous Châteneuf-du-Pape region.
What are the grapes in wines from Lirac?
Lirac benefits from multiple soil types and a Mediterranean climate, so there is an array of grapes that are allowed to be grown in the region.
Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Carignan flourish on the clay plateaus with their large pebbles. It is similar to the soils of Châteneuf-du-Pape. The wines have a lot of finesse and are well structured. The same grapes are used in the Lirac rosés and are grown in sands that also provide depth, similar to wines from Tavel.
Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, and Clairette are the dominant grapes but also permitted are Picpoul, Marsanne, or Viognier. They grow along the arid scrubland from which they draw their elegance and aromatic complexity. These wines are great for when you want a richer white wine but don’t want a Chardonnay.