A short hop across the river Rhône from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac was traditionally best-known for its rosés, but increasingly its approachable, full-bodied reds are taking centre stage. Less Grenache-dominated than its neighbours, the current trend for Lirac is towards a greater proportion of Syrah and Mourvèdre, which gives the wines a pleasing firmness and a rich, silky spiciness. The wines can normally be enjoyed from two years’ ageing, up to 10 in some cases.
Lirac’s full, fragrant, food-friendly whites are surprisingly good, containing a minimum of one-third Clairette with the rest made up from Bourbolenc, Grenache Blanc and up to 25 percent each (but no more than 30 percent in total) of Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Ugni Blanc and Picpoul. They are best enjoyed in their youth but can last for up to five years.
Rosé production is declining here, which is a shame as the rosés are good value with a lovely, dry, full-bodied summer fruit palate that is zingier than either neighbouring Tavel (which they resemble) or Provence.