Château Mont-Redon, established in 1344, is one of the oldest wine-producing Estates in France and the largest single property in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The Estate includes 100 hectares of the most perfectly-sited vineyards in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, spread over the region’s three main soil types: the western limestone slopes, sand and galet stones on the plateau. The wines are made by vinifying all of the cépages together, to promote aromatic complexity, and are blended after 18 to 24 months ageing in cask. These are elegant examples of Châteauneuf that age well.
Lirac is a large appellation located in the southern reach of the Rhone Valley, west of Chateauneuf du Pape, on the opposite side of the Rhone river. The wines are all produced from local varieties. In the case of the reds this means Grenache (minimum 40%), Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault while a smattering of Carignan is permitted, and the whites are made up of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Bourboulenc in varying proportions. Unusually, all three colours of wine are produced here – red, white and rose. The reds tend towards ripe, soft dark fruit; an overall style reminiscent of the better Cotes du Rhone Villages. However quality of terroir varies; soils vary from deep alluvial and clay with sand, to vineyards of tertiary rock, and slopes with “galets roules” (pudding stones) atop sandy soils. It is on the slopes that the more ambitious wines are often found. In the case of first-rate producers like Chateau Mont Redon, the Lirac appellation often provides an excellent alternative to Chateauneuf, as the wines have a similar flavour profile and structure, are inexpensive and will drink earlier, yet can also age enjoyably for 5+ years.