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One of the most souther crus of the Rhone Valley,

and probably one of the least known, growing in tranquil solitude well away from the beaten track. Yet vines have been grown here since ancient times, and even in the Middle Ages these vineyards in the “Côte” du Rhône were renowned for the quality of their wines. The appellation area encompasses the best soils in four communes in the Gard département, its wines available in all three colours. Blending the terroir wines together creates a distinctive Lirac style, powerful, well-structured and aromatic, but always fresh and elegant. A gem to look for.

Lirac

History

1947
1947

Birth of AOC Lirac

Vines have been one of Lirac’s top assets for two thousand years. In the 16th century, its wines were already popular with the world’s nobility, and were served at royal courts in France and beyond. Evidence of this extravagant past still exists in the commune of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres, a former enclave of the Avignon diocese. A vineyard grew here, belonging to the bishops. It was planted around the village castle, easily recognisable by its distinctive watchtower, and produced enough wine to send a tithe across to the other side of the river, consisting of “five vessels of red wine, all filled to the brim.” In 1904, Count Henri de Régis de Gatimel inherited Château de Ségriès, and the estate still produces wine in Lirac today. 

In his day, the estate only grew cereal crops and bred silkworms; the vineyard was very modest in size. In 1925 Count Henri replanted the vineyard, just as it was in Roman times. Lirac became a cru of the Côtes du Rhône in October 14th 1947.

Geography

Territory

The Lirac appellation lies 15km north west of Avignon, on the right bank of the Rhône, across four Gard communes including Roquemaure, birthplace of the Côtes du Rhône, Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres and Saint-Géniès-de-Comolas.

Climate

Mediterranean influences with 2,700 hours of sun per year.

Soils

A particular geology

The vineyards are planted at both ends of the appellation, but mostly in Lirac itself, on the Gard’s classic limestone plateaus covered with a layer of red clay and pebbles. The terroir is free-draining, and produces powerful wines with well-structured tannins and good ageing potential. In the centre, at Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres, the vineyards lie on the Rhône’s ancient alluvial terraces, on soils of rounded quartz cobbles and red clay carried down from the Alps and deposited on a bed of sand. These magnificent terraces have the same Quaternary origins as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Finally, the slopes on these terraces consist of sand mixed with small stones from successive landslides. This is the type of terroir found in Saint-Geniès de-Comolas, whose red wines are more elegant and less tannic.

Key figures

Key figures of the appellation

85% red
5% rosé
10% white

Colors

30 hl/ha

Average annual yield

795 ha

Production surface area

23 864 hl

Total production

48%

Exportation

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