Lirac AOC – Energy within


Vineyards in Lirac AOC in the southern Rhône Cru
Vineyards in Lirac AOC in the southern Rhône Cru, France

Driven by a diverse yet tight-knit community of growers and producers, the small, characterful southern Rho?ne Cru produces some of the region’s most exciting and perhaps underestimated wines. These are products both of a unique terroir – in which biodiversity, a rich geology and the northwestern Mistral wind take centre stage – and of the talent and ingenuity of local producers.

With an inspired, open and inquisitive spirit, local producers are questioning assumptions about the region’s true potential and of the changes it needs to implement in order to answer the climatic and economic challenges of tomorrow. Whilst dealing with these big questions, they are careful to recognise the value of traditional knowledge and of an integrated approach to agriculture – both of which Lirac has been exceptionally good at preserving and promoting.

Biodiversity as identity

In Lirac, vines are part of a balanced landscape – an intricate weaving of fauna and flora, in harmony and constant dialogue. The understanding of the vineyards as part of a larger, complex system in perennial motion, is a fundamental part of the region’s identity. Not only does it inform the way growers work and relate to the land, but it also impacts on the growth and development of the region’s grapes, ultimately shaping the character of the wines.

Olive groves, cherry trees and just over 2,500 hectares of woods share the appellation’s perimeter with 850 hectares of vines, over a geological patchwork of sandy plateaus, limestone pebbly soils and stretches of distinct galets roule?s. This has a balancing thermal effect, while also allowing natural, non-interventional pest management. Phenolic maturity is reached slowly and in a measured way, thus delivering grapes with great aromatic depth and concentration underpinned by a well-honed tannic structure and vibrant acidity.

Vines in Lirac AOC, France

Terroir of rolled pebbles, Lirac

Holistic approach to sustainability

The region’s polycultural landscape offers depth and variety, and provides a fundamental asset, cultural asset, as well as a natural one. It informs the way the land and its resources are perceived by all those who live from it. This explains the active engagement of Lirac wine growers and producers in its preservation. The appellation has developed an Environmental Charter that defines clear requirements for the preservation of a wide variety of species and natural resources. The charter represents a pioneering initiative, with few if any counterparts, in which wine growers are called upon to embrace a larger, integrated environmental responsibility.

It reflects a holistic understanding of the landscape, on the one hand, and on the other, an awareness of the fact that the sustainable management of vineyards can only be effective within a broader systemic approach. Perhaps more importantly, this reflects the overall ethos of the appellation’s winemaking community.

Sense of community

The Mistral and the intense Mediterranean sun undoubtedly inject a particular energy into the landscape and wines of Lirac, but the human component of terroir is also fundamental to the appellation’s vibrancy. Being among the so far lesser-known crus of the southern Rho?ne has allowed the growers and winemakers of Lirac to remain incredibly connected to their roots and traditions, preserving the uniqueness of their terroir, while developing a strong sense of identity and community.

It has also allowed them to remain fearlessly curious and open, welcoming a number of ‘outsiders’, who have since become their peers and offered a fresh perspective on that which makes Lirac unique. Multiple projects spearheaded by vignerons and entrepreneurs from other regions and countries have added to a general feel of wonder and creativity. While rooted in tradition, Lirac is an appellation in motion, ready to embrace the future by leveraging the assets of the past and the expertise…

Source : https://www.decanter.com/sponsored/lirac-aoc-energy-within-522550/