Last fall I spent some time with winemakers in Lirac, a cru located across the Rhône River from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I covered a significant conversation with Rodolphe de Pins, winemaker at Château de Montfaucon and Co-President of Lirac AOP in a recent piece published on Palate Press:
I’m in a vineyard on top of a graceful hill overlooking the Rhône River from the right bank.
Right bank meaning not Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In the Southern Rhône Cru Lirac.
The morning was incredibly rainy; driving to Lirac from Avignon, water poured down the sloped roads and normally-sunny Provence was saturated. Someone in our group – all guests of Rhône Valley Wines – slipped on rain-drenched stone; later a speeding truck dumped water from its roof on us. But now the sky is clear, leaving behind the most unusual artistic play of light and shade, shadow and illumination, on a fall-changing set of vineyards and cliffs. I can hear the voices of children in the hamlet down below us, church bells too.
“Imagine you are in the vineyard, doing a good job, a very good job sometimes, yet nobody comes,” laments Rodolphe de Pins, winemaker at Château de Montfaucon and Co-President of Lirac AOP. I try to picture him, clad in his barn jacket and jeans, working all day in the wind and sun, then coming home to an empty shop, waiting for the little ring-a-ding announcing that a customer has come calling. It’s heartbreaking.
“It’s a new era in Lirac,” continues de Pins. “We are no longer tired and fed up. The quality of the wine wasn’t visible but now we have more focus.”
For the full story, plus my recommendations of Lirac wines to try at home, visit Palate Press.