Ogier, Reserve, AOC/AOP Lirac, Gard, France, 2013
Lirac is an appellation on the right bank of the Rhone, opposite Chateauneuf-du-Papes, producing red, white and rose. It has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and a dominant northerly Mistral wind blows. Soils are similar to Chateauneuf, with galets present throughout, with calcareous soils in the west, otherwise sandy. Reds are from GSM (grenache dominating), plus carignan and cinsault; rose can contain up to 20% white varieties, which are bourboulenc (adds citrussy notes and acidity), clairette and grenache blanc. Rose is declining in favour of reds, but produces better balanced wines acidity-wise, than Tavel or Provence, using a minimum 40% grenache noir. Cotes-du-Rhone is also produced. Alcohol is typically high, at 14-15%.
The 2013 vintage was marred by a cold and wet spring, leading to widespread coulure (poor fruit set and berry shedding soon after flowering), from which grenache in particular suffers – yields were tiny. This meant that syrah and mourvedre played a greater role than usual in southern Rhone blends, giving wines with relatively less sucrosity and alcohol.
This wine – a blend of grenache, syrah, mourvedre and cinsault. Natural cork closure, 14% abv, en France, about €11
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, of deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean on the nose, of medium intensity, developing, with aromas of kirsch, red cherry, a hint of black cherry and touches of sweet smoke and spicy liquorice.
Palate: a dry wine, with medium acidity, ripe chewy medium (+) tannins, high alcohol and a full body, with a smooth texture, of medium intensity, with rich flavours of slightly high-toned red cherry, sweet black berry, liquorice and dried berries. A medium (+) length with a clean moderately grippy finish.
Quality: a good quality wine, nicely balanced, but with modest intensity on the nose and palate. There is a degree of complexity on the nose, with some tertiary development with notes of smoke, liquorice and spice showing, which mostly follow through on the palate; a decent length with a clean finish, this wine will keep, and may improve with cellaring over 2-3 years.