Pierre Usseglio Lirac 2019

This domain has climbed to the top rank of producers… STEPHEN TANZER

In many ways, this estate symbolizes the dramatic surge in quality that Chateauneuf du Pape has witnessed over the last decade. THE WINE ADVOCATE

this estate has been on a hot streak over the past two decades, rarely putting a foot wrong, even in more challenging vintages. In addition to the Châteauneuf du Papes, the Côtes du Rhône, Lirac and Vin de France cuvées are terrific values well worth seeking out. JEB DUNNUCK

Lirac, the eminently enjoyable, perfumed and oh so seductive little cousin of Chateauneuf is sadly often overlooked here in Australia. I have no idea why, it is gobbled up in bistros, restaurants and the homes of savvy wine buyers across the globe.

A wine like this fits perfectly in to the zone of what we get asked for so often by our customers, great red and a great price. Medium to full bodied and goes well with food. Ticks all the boxes I reckon. It offers up everything you want from the region, bolder, darker, luxuriant fruit but with a more airy and fragrant “come hither” feel to it. Great Lirac isn’t a lesser version of Chateauneuf or Gigondas, it is just a different model and operates at a different speed.

This particular interpretation, made by one of the region’s super stars, wraps up everything you want from Lirac in a beautiful package that holds all that sumptuously juicy, primary feeling fruit with a sense of ease and carries with it the regional garrigue and cured meat that offers a savoury counterpart. It comes across as flirtatious initially but a little air unveils the seriousness you expect from, Usseglio as it gains a little central grip and muscle. It’s a ripper! Something you want in the house for the cooler months of 2021, or through to 2026 if you want, for those meals that need something with a bit of grunt but that is still built for the table.

I love wines like this because they are both digestible and offer upfront but they are also ideal for the table and accommodate a wide range of food. I will be buying some of this and will be cooking sausages and lentils to have with it. I can’t think of much better as the weather turns. Obviously I will be enjoying that meal and the wine while watching Empire Strikes Back, for maximum enjoyment. You can, of course, choose another dish to watch Star Wars and drink Lirac with. Each to their own.

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