SOLD OUT! Do you love Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas but hate paying the price? The 2016 Domaine Castel Oualou Lirac is the solution to that problem. From vineyards just a stone’s throw west of Avignon and from a rocking-good vintage, this Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre blend blew me away when I tasted it last week.
2016 Domaine Castel Oualou Lirac Reserve ‘Fut de Chene’ | On Sale Through March 6th
Drinks like Chateauneuf at half the price! 92 points – Wine Advocate
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Jean Francois Assemat established Domain Castel Oualou in 1961 after studying oenology. He bought an old farm with dormant vines and immediately set out to rehabilitate his land and vines. From day 1, Jean Francois farmed without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and fungicides. Today, his estate is certified organic, and all of the vines he farms are 50-70 years old. ‘Fut de Chene’ loosely translates to oak barrel, and Jean Francois ages the Syrah component of this wine new and used French barrels.
The blend here is 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvedre. If you know your Southern Rhone wines, you know these grapes go together like peanut butter and jelly. The Syrah contributes dark fruits and peppery spice, the Grenache adds ripe red fruits and a plump texture, and the Mourvedre adds structure and intensity. And although, I’m not always a fan of oak-aged Southern Rhones, it really works well here. There’s a generous texture to this wine, and it’s the oak that contributes to this while adding hints of smoky, toasty barrel.
Joe Czerwinski of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate summed it up nicely. “Reportedly with an assemblage of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre, the 2016 Lirac Cuvee Fut de Chene is full-bodied, expansive and lush but balanced. Garrigue, black cherry and stone fruit notes have soaked up any new oak, leaving behind a wine that’s long and silky on the finish. It should drink well for at least 4-5 years.” Yep, his notes were nearly identical to mine.
This is a wine that loves lamb and other wild game dishes, but the silky texture lends this one to drinking without food too. We bought our distributor’s last seven cases of this one, and with our rabid Rhone fans, I suspect this will exit the store quickly. Act now or forever hold your peace. Cheers to happy drinking and eating in Asheville.
Owner/Operator at Table Wine