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Wine of the week: Plateau des Chenes Lirac 2014

Southern Rone, France

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Retail $22

There were wine grapes in Lirac before the Romans passed through the Rhone River Valley in western France. Currently, Lirac is a large appellation located on the other side of the Rhone from Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This wine features 60 percent syrah and 40 percent grenache grapes, providing an excellent example of how the region's vintners blend grapes to achieve their distinctive flavors. The vines are 60 to 80 years old, so the wine arrives with a certain maturity. At Famille Brechet's flagship property, Chateau de Vaudieu in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the grapes are destemmed and crushed and the fruit moved to temperature-controlled stainless steel vats for fermentation. The maceration process occurs over 20 days, and the wine is racked into barrels and demi-muids (600-liter oak barrels typically used in the Rhone Valley) for malolactic fermentation. In the glass, smell forward spice and a floral bouquet with black and red berry notes. On the palate, taste dusty pepper, raspberry, licorice and a hint of dried flowers. Open 30 minutes before serving. Drink it with game, lamb, fowl, rabbit, mushrooms and roasted eggplant. Buy it at: Pearl Wine Co. Drink it at: Herbsaint.

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