Overlooked Lirac Blanc to your detriment. It is an asset in the Southern Rhone. Bold and generous flavours, able to develop over the short to medium term. The main varieties used are Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc. Each variety is a maximum of 60% of the blend. Having this wine sitting between a cheap Cotes du Rhone Blanc and a not so cheap Chateauneuf Blanc is great. The step-up in texture and flavour is worth the price and generally, Lirac Blanc is more approachable young. Win/win!
Two brothers who bottled their first Chateauneuf du Pape in 1997. They follow biodynamic principles in the vineyard with low cropping to get the best result. De-stemming, long macerations, warm ferments and indigenous yeasts are favoured in the winery. They make modern and clean wines from the Southern Rhone that still retain the flavour and spirit of the appellation. They are delicious too. The rosé and ‘lessers’ appellations are great value and the Chateauneuf wines will rival the greats. Reine des Bois is their reserve Cuvee and Dame Rousse their normal wines.
0ften overlooked for more well-known neighbours but for one-tenth, the price Lirac is often a good substitute for Chateauneuf. Lirac wines often don’t have the stuffing for long aging like some of its cousins but make up for it in drink-now appeal and value.
Closely related to the more famous red Grenache, Grenache blanc shares similar characteristics. It is prone to high alcohol, low acids, and high cropping. Also, like red Grenache, Grenache Blanc does better in most cases when it is blended with other grapes. Commonly in the Rhone, it is Roussanne but there are half a dozen other native Rhone whites that can be used. Look for flavours in the citrus and herbaceous spheres.