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2014 Lirac “Le Classique”

Domaine du Joncier

2014 Lirac “Le Classique” Domaine du Joncier - Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
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

Vintage: 2014
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault & Carignan
Appellation: Lirac
Country: France
Region: Southern Rhône
Producer: Domaine du Joncier
Winemaker: Marine Roussel
Soil: Alluvial soils with large galets roulés
Aging: Wines are aged for 18 months in underground, gravity-fed cuves
Farming: Biodynamic (certified)
Alcohol: 14%

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About Southern Rhône

The southern Rhône valley is Grenache country. It’s also known for its stones. With a viticulture history dating back well before the Popes arrived in the 12th century and one of France’s oldest appellations d'origine contrôlée, Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, the southern Rhône is unquestionably one of France’s best known and premier winegrowing regions. The wines have the pedigree and age-worthiness of Burgundy and Bordeaux, but with a rustic, Mediterranean character. Like most wines from southern France, the reds, whites, and rosés are blends. Filling out the Grenache for the reds and rosés, you’ll often find Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. The common white grape varieties are Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne among others. From the alluvial riverbed stones found in Lirac, Tavel, and Châteauneuf to the limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail that influence Beaumes-de-Venise (where you’ll find excellent Muscat), Vacqueyras, and Gigondas, great terroir abounds.

Kermit’s entrance in the region came in the mid 1970s on his first trip with Richard Olney, an American ex-pat and friend of Alice Waters. On that trip, Richard introduced Kermit to the Brunier family of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. Soon after, Kermit began importing the Brunier’s wines—their Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau” bottling remains a staple of our portfolio today. In the late 1990s Kermit teamed up with the Brunier family to purchase the famed Gigondas estate, Domaine Les Pallières. More than 40 years later, we now import wines from fifteen southern Rhône domaines spanning the entire area of the region.

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Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch

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