Lirac

Lirac is a large appellation on the western side of the southern Rhône Valley in France. The wines produced under the title are mainly full-bodied reds and a significant quantity of rosé. Although not a white wine specialist, Lirac produces a small amount of often heavy, floral whites from Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc.

Lirac's rosé wines can offer a more affordable alternative to those of neighbouring Tavel, whose prestige forces prices up, often undeservedly. The vineyards of these two rivals are separated only by a parish boundary, and enjoy much the same combination of warm, dry weather and well-drained limestone and sandstone soils. The parishes permitted to claim the AOC Lirac appellation are Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres, Saint-Genies-de-Comolas, Roquemaure and Lirac itself.

Lirac's reds, made from the classic southern Rhône varieties (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault) are similar in style to the softest of the Côtes du Rhône Villages reds. Several ambitious producers now make a heavier style of wine, more akin to those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape just across the Rhône river. The quality of Lirac's wines increased noticeably in the late 20th century, and with developing international interest in heavier red wine styles, investment has permitted further experimentation and technological upgrades in local winemaking.
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