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New Customers Save $30 off $100+* with code JULYNEW30

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Flat front label of wine

Plateau des Chenes Lirac Rouge 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
  • RP90
0% ABV
  • WS90
  • RP90
  • RP91
  • RP91
  • WS90
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Winemaker Notes

The appearance is an intense purple. The nose develops powerful aromas of black fruits, characteristic of over-ripe Grenache grown on rolled pebbles. There are also slight notes of smoke and spice, usually associated with that of Syrah. The palate has a dense, tannic structure that retains freshness and elegance.

Blend: 60% Syrah, 40% Grenache

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
An impressive new performer from Lirac, the Brechet family, who also owns the famous Chateau de Vaudieu in Chateauneuf du Pape (just south of Chateau Rayas), has 37 acres in Lirac. The consulting winemaker is Philippe Cambie, who is largely responsible for the tremendous upsurge in quality at Vaudieu over the last 4-5 years. The 2011 Plateau des Chenes, a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache aged 9 months in foudre and barrel, displays an inky/purple color along with a dense nose of black fruits, forest floor, acacia flowers, pepper and licorice. It possesses fabulous fruit on the attack and mid-palate, beautiful ripeness (especially for a 2011), and a soft, well-made, opulent finish. Drink this 2011 over the next 3-4 years.
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Plateau des Chenes

Plateau des Chenes

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Plateau des Chenes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
The Brechet family has owned the vineyards for generations: Augustus and Juliette, Gabriel, and finally Sylvette, Laurent and Julien all share a passion for their wine. Today, Laurent and Julien represent the fifth consecutive generation winemaker of this saga, and are proud to continue the legacy.

Much attention is given to the land and environment. The methods they employ are strictly based on little to no intervention. It is the land that speaks and expresses its identity through each of the wines. In fact, some of the best vineyards are isolated among select vintages to express absolute purity in that renowned vintage.

The work of the Chateau is based on the fact that an entire year contributes to the collection of a vintage should be sound and of the highest quality. Therefore, the sustainable approach produces a low yield, promoting longevity and favoring a natural harmony – again, a restrained intervention.

The grape is the messenger of its environment and conveys the aromas that it amassed during its maturation. By a strict selection, only the most beautiful grapes enter the doors of the cellar. Then, each grape variety, environment and soil type combine to dictate the vinifcation method. Vinification adaptation is influenced and crafted with each vintage. The result is wine that exhibits the greatest purity and sincerity.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics of silky black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhone River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called galets in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.

According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsaut, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.

Only about 6-7% of wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape is white. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.

The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.

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.

SWS335430_2011 Item# 129384