Lirac and Roll! 08/01/11
Despite my undeniable momentum last month in terms of updating my blog, it appears that as July drew to a close, I was once again stricken with that insufferable little bug called writer’s block, and the wine I’d meant to write about all week has long gone unreviewed. But the funny thing about writer’s block – and this is a centuries-old secret I’m sharing with you, passed down from blogger to blogger over countless generations – is that sometimes you just have to drink your way through it.
And so today I went in search of inspiration: specifically, to buy another bottle of that very same wine. This will mark the first time I’ve tasted the same wine twice (as in, from two different bottles) within such a short span of time, so you can bet this review will be among my most sophisticated ever.
The wine in question is the La Griffe Mont Tauch 2008 Lirac Blanc, a white blend from a relatively obscure appellation in the Rhone Valley (of France) that happens to be right across the river from the famed Chateauneuf du Pape, which I haven’t had any wines from yet (mostly due to the less-than-friendly price points they all seem to inhabit), and which you therefore don’t have to worry about.
Getting back to Lirac, the La Griffe was produced from three relatively obscure grapes, Clairette (60%), Grenache Blanc (30%), and Bourboulenc (10%) – but that’s not a strange combo for white wines from the region, which must, in fact, by law comprise the exact aforementioned trio of grapes, with no varietal accounting for more than 60% of the blend. If nothing else, this tells us that the good people of Lirac not only have a taste for team work in wine, but they also take their blending protocols very seriously.
What drew me to the La Griffe in the first place, however, had little to do with the wine, and everything to do with the fact that the back label appeared to have been placed on the bottle twice. Furthermore, when I went back, I noticed that another bottle suffered from the same double-label syndrome (but none of the others on the shelf). Of course, with not one but two bottles in my possession exhibiting the seldom-discussed “label fail” flaw, I find myself wishing now more than ever that I had a camera at my disposal.
So for now, you’ll just have to content yourselves with my florid, text-only descriptions of the wine itself, considered among the most important elements of wine tasting by many critics. Both times I tasted this wine, it poured a light, semi-pale lemon color in the glass, with aromas of honeydew, lemon, and something vaguely creamy – possibly meringue.
The palate presented separate notes of lemon and lime, with the lime verging more on the key lime pie filling side (and therefore providing the ideal accompaniment to that meringue I mentioned. Or maybe I just wanted pie.) Restrained pepper notes marked the finish. As the wine breathed, more notes emerged that I would call floral, I think. The second bottle reminded me more of yellow apples on the palate when I started, but notes of honeydew and flowers followed.
In either case, this was a great buy at $16. Both times I drank it, all the essential elements of this wine were present in perfect proportion: the fruit was so intense that I had to do that nose-pinching test just to make sure it wasn’t residual sugar (and it wasn’t); the acidity was crisp, even verging on tart, but never overpowering; and perhaps best of all, this led into a dry, spicy finish.
I award the La Griffe Mont Tauch Lirac White Blend thumbs up.