Just across the Rhône from its distinguished neighbor Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac shares a similar, yet less exalted, terroir. The key lies in the rounded riverbed stones (galets roulés) that litter the land as far as the eye can see. Beyond providing good drainage and insulation, these stones absorb the sun’s heat and reflect it back to the grapes at night, ensuring great ripeness each year for the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Carignan vines that make up the blend. The outcome is a goût de terroir characterized by ripe, dark, smoky fruit, with accents of Provençal herbs like thyme and lavender. Vigneronne Marine Roussel has worked hard to achieve the stony sensation that keeps things fresh in this rich, bold red, obtaining desirable results through conversion to organic and, later, biodynamic viticulture. Try her Lirac with herb-rubbed grilled meats or Provençal specialties like soupe au pistou.—Anthony Lynch
|Blend:||40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault & Carignan|
|Producer:||Domaine du Joncier|
|Soil:||Alluvial soils with large galets roulés|
|Aging:||Wines are aged for 18 months in underground, gravity-fed cuves|
The vivacious Marine Roussel took her time finding her place in the family domaine. Her father, Pierre, was an agronomist and started Domaine du Joncier in 1964. However, as a young artist, Marine was seeking adventure beyond her hometown in the Southern Rhône. After living in both Marseille and Paris, Marine eventually felt a strong pull to return home. She joined the domaine in 1989, and has since taken on her new vocation with the zeal that only an artist could possess. In addition, Marine achieved organic certification in her vineyards in 2000 and biodynamic certification in 2011. She makes two impressive Lirac Rouges, a classic blend with a majority of Grenache, and Les Muses, an inky blend made predominately with Mourvèdre.
A good doctor prescribed the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Sun King, Louis XIV, when he suffered an unknown maladie. When the king’s health was restored the tasty remedy enjoyed a vogue at court. Lord, send me a doctor like that!
Inspiring Thirst, page 117