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Flat front label of wine

Domaine Grand Veneur Clos de Sixte Lirac 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Rhone, France
  • RP90
0% ABV
  • RP92
  • WE92
  • RP91
  • WS90
  • RP93
  • JS91
  • WS90
  • WE90
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Intense inky colour. On the nose, aromas of red and black ripe fruit (kirsch and wild Blackberry) are dominant. The mouth is full, with aromas of blackcurrant liquor and spice. Tannins are both harmonious and elegant thanks to the fleshy of the wine. The end display hints of liquorice and vanilla, which give to the wine length and complexity.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The same blend and elevage as the 2012, the Grand Veneur 2011 Lirac Clos de Sixte offers up similar black cherry, leather and ground herb qualities as well as a medium-bodied, textured and easy-drinking profile on the palate. It scores high on drinkability and also offers solid complexity. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years. Drink now-2019.
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Domaine Grand Veneur

Domaine Grand Veneur

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Domaine Grand Veneur, Rhone, France
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In 1320 Pope Jean XXII planted the first vines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but it was only in 1360 that the wines of the region first gained fame. Oddly, the wine that gave Châteauneuf-du-Pape its reputation was the Blanc and not the Rouge. The white wine was a favorite of Pope Innocent VI. Domaine Grand Veneur dates back to 1826 having been founded at that time by Mathieu Jaume. Since 1979, Alain Jaume has run the Domaine and now has the help of his two sons: Sébastien and Christophe.

A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines, the Rhône is bisected by the river of the same name and split into two distinct sub-regions—north and south. While a handful of grape varieties span the entire length of the valley, there are significant differences between the two zones in climate and geography as well as the style and quantity of wines produced. The Northern Rhône, with its continental climate and steep hillside vineyards, is responsible for a mere 5% or less of the greater region’s total output. The Southern Rhône has a much more Mediterranean climate, the aggressive, chilly Mistral wind, and plentiful fragrant wild herbs known collectively as ‘garrigue.’

In the Northern Rhône, the only permitted red variety is Syrah. In the appellations of St.-Joseph, Hermitage, Cornas, and Côte-Rôtie (where up to 20% Viognier may be co-fermented), it produces savory, peppery wines with telltale notes of olive, bacon fat, and smoke. Oily, perfumed whites are made from Viognier in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, while elsewhere only Marsanne and Roussanne are used, with the former providing body and texture and the latter lending nervy acidity. The wines of the Southern Rhône are typically blends, with the reds often based on Grenache and balanced by Syrah, Mourvèdre, and an assortment of other varieties. All three northern white varieties are used here, as well as Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourbelenc, and more. The best known sub-regions of the Southern Rhône are the reliable, wallet-friendly Côtes du Rhône and the esteemed Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Others include Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and rosé-only appellation Tavel.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

AMB21051333193_2011 Item# 132560