“La Quête” Lirac Rouge, Rhone Valley, France 2011 (350 cases)

We named our first Earthshaker wine “La Quête” or “The Quest” to signify our ambition to go anywhere to discover wines for the adventurous wine drinker.  This wine also comes from a place where an ancient warrior proceeded on a quest of his own. 60% Grenache from 75 year old vines, 25% Mourvedre from 70 year old vines, 15% Syrah from 30 year old vines.

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The Place

Lirac is located on the western bank of the Rhone River directly across from Chateauneauf-du-Pape.  In this southern most “cru” of the Rhone, vines have been cultivated for over two thousand years.  In the early 1700s, vignerons in Lirac where the first to brand their wine barrels “Cotes du Rhone”, a name eventually adopted by all wines of the Rhone Valley. 

Vineyard & Soils

This is a red wine made from a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah grown on ancient alluvial terraces of the Rhone comprised of quartz pebbles and red clay over a bed of sand.  These soils were originally formed by retreating glaciers many thousands of years ago and are strikingly similar to neighboring Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

The vines are trained in the freestanding, gobelet style where short spurs are arranged in a circle atop a small trunk so that it visually resembles a goblet drinking cup.  Vineyard parcels are nested within a Mediterranean forest of Pine and Oak trees, offering shade from the warm sun and a habitat for predators of pesky vine pests.  There is no use of chemical fertilizers in the vineyards. 

Winemaking

The grapes are hand harvested and sorted before a 3-week fermentation in a combination of large oak casks and stainless steel tanks.  Each varietal is fermented and aged separately.  The Mourvedre is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels (225 liter) and the Grenache and Syrah are aged for 9 months in large oak foudres (600 liters).  The wine is then blended and bottled.  

Tasting Note

The wine’s color is deep purple, nearly black.  One sniff reveals aromas of fresh blackberries and raspberries and hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and licorice.  Let your nose linger a bit longer and you might also discover something savory like mushrooms or leather.  Taste the wine and you’ll experience a gentility of soft spiciness that crescendos into a fanfare of dark fruits and flowers.