Rhone Valley France
Grenache Syrah Mouvedre
Lirac is a small village on the western side of the Southern Rhone Valley. It is one of the 13 designated regions in the area eligible for an AOC classification and is 10 klms west of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. In fact the two regions share an incredibly similar climate and soil profile. They both have the famous large rounded stones or “Galets Roules” that are so important in retaining the heat from the day to help ripen the grapes during the cooler nights. Whilst they do not have the fame or fanfare of the wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape they have the same quality profile at a fraction of the price.
Wines from this region are all about the blend, with Grenache, Shiraz and Mouvedre leading the way, or as we say in Australia – GSM. GSM’s from Australia have become super trendy of late with Charlie Melton’s Nine Popes leading the way. They tend to be a little richer with more of a fruit cake character than what you see in the Southern Rhone, which has more mineral notes and elegance.
Chateau Mont-Redon is one of the largest and the oldest estates in the Southern Rhone, based in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. They can trace their history back to 1334, but the current family took over ownership in 1923. It is a family affair with two brothers and a cousin controlling the estate- Jean and Francois Abeille and Didier Fabre. They diversified out of this appellation in 1997 to purchase a 21 hectare vineyard in the village of Lirac, from where this wine is sourced.
A blend of Grenache 70 %, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, it is a modern twist on a very traditional estate. They have introduced a higher percentage of new wood into the blend, with one third of the wine seeing up to 18 months in new French Oak. Medium to full bodied, but certainly not lacking in any power. In fact, I believe this wine needs to be decanted for at least 20 minutes before drinking. It has a super aroma of red fruits, with engaging floral or wild flowers scents. The palate is full bodied with great acidity and freshness that makes it very easy to go to the second and third glass. This is the kind of wine I could happily drink every night.