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Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine Lirac Rouge 2010

Rhone Red Blends from Rhone, France
  • RP90
0% ABV
  • RP92
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Winemaker Notes

A powerful and full-bodied wine with a deep ruby red colour with violet tints. The nose is complex: cinnamon, stewed fruit, and Morello cherry. After a firm and ample attack, on the palate we have vanilla and peppery notes which last to the finish. This is a rich and supple wine, long in the mouth.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, the 2010 Lirac Roc-Epine offers up a pretty, fruit-driven bouquet of smoked raspberries, licorice, pepper and spice-box to go with a medium-bodied, rich and nicely concentrated profile on the palate. Fleshing out in the glass and showing real class, this elegant, balanced and fresh Lirac will dish out loads of pleasure over the coming 4-5 years. Drink now-2018
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Domaine Lafond

Domaine Lafond

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Domaine Lafond, Rhone, France
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Pascal Lafond’s beautifully made wines from Tavel, Lirac and Chateauneuf-du-Pape are among the finest values the region has to offer. This 65-hectare family-run estate, located in the rose-only appellation of Tavel, produces what is widely considered (by Robert Parker, among others) to be the best Tavel available. Their Lirac Blanc – a blend of Grenache, Roussanne and Viognier – is a rich, vibrant Rhone white, with lovely honeyed and floral aromas. Their reds – including a Cotes-du-Rhone, a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and two different Liracs – are impressively concentrated, meaty and pure Grenache-based wines that are nonetheless balanced and well-structured. Today's cellar was built in 1970, with several extensions made over the years to accommodate the domaine's fairly robust production.

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.

MSKFLF058_2010 Item# 130838