- Blend70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and Cinsault
Stephane Usseglio Lirac L'Autre Rive 2018
Stephane Usseglio has been producing wines from his estate in Lirac, just across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, since the 1980s. He ascended to chief winemaker at his father’s Domaine Usseglio Raymond et Fils in Châteauneuf-du-Pape circa 1999 at only 22 years of age and never looked back. This 93 POINT Lirac offers many of the same high points as the tremendous Usseglio CdPs – at a fraction of the price!
L’Autre Rive translates to “the other shore” as Lirac has long been the forgotten region of southern Rhone, for decades hiding in the long shadow cast by CdP. The truth is that many of the same soils are found in both locations and with recent weather trends, the slightly better water retention character of the Lirac base soils has become a product that has helped to even the playing field a bit. That, along with increased investment, and better winemakers (often, like here, from the heavy-hitting houses of CdP), has led to Lirac producing some of the finest wines in their history! At the remarkable price of $19.95, this is a wine to be treasured – and one you’ll find hard to put down once you pop the cork!
This is a field blend of 70% grenache from 80-plus-year-old vines, with the remainder comprised of older parcels of syrah and cinsault. While the old vine grenache is certainly the dominant character provider here – the cinsault leaves a noticeable mark – uplifting the wine with bright red fruits, and an almost floral sensation to the aromas. The syrah grounds the wine with a granitic minerality and leathery richness, and the old-vine grenache gives the wine its classic note of strawberry, white pepper, and lavender. This is an almost Burgundian approach to southern Rhone, where delicate sensibility and fine-tuned elegance match with a deep and terroir-driven structure. Ready to drink, and be warned, you’re going to wish you bought more!