Wine Advocate 89
“Seemingly more traditional than the Ferme Romaine release, the 2012 Lirac Roc-Epine checks in as a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and the rest Mourvèdre and Carignan that was completely destemmed and aged all in tank. Sweet black cherries, cassis, spice, earth and crushed rock like notes all show in this medium-bodied, supple and balanced effort. It’s not a blockbuster, but has serious purity and a keeps you coming back to the glass. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years.” ~ JD
60% Grenache (around 40 year old vines); 30% Syrah.
The vineyards are situated right between Tavel and Lirac in the Rhône Valley. 24 hectares in two vineyards. One is rock and lime-clay and the other is sandy with pebbles (ancient flood plain of the Rhône River).
Handpicked grapes are all de-stemmed, followed by an 8-10 day maceration between 73-86°F, pressing, and fermentation. The wine matures in stainless steel until it is bottled in late spring of the year following the vintage for optimal fruit freshness.
2012 has, so far been a positive year for wineries around the world. While it may be a little too early to speak of the wines being made in the northern hemisphere, European and North American wineries have already begun reporting that their harvesting season has been generally very good, and are predicting to continue with the kind of successes they saw in 2011. However, 2012 has been something of a late year for France, due to unpredictable weather throughout the summer, and the grapes were ripening considerably later than they did in 2011 (which was, admittedly, an exceptionally early year). French wineries are claiming, though, that this could well turn out to be advantageous, as the slow ripening will allow the resulting wines to express more flavour and features of the terroir they are grown in. The southern hemisphere has seen ideal climatic conditions in most of the key wine producing countries, and Australia and New Zealand particularly had a superb year, in particular with the Bordeaux varietal grapes that grow there and which love the humidity these countries received plenty of. Also enjoying a fantastic year for weather were wineries across Argentina and Chile, with the Mendoza region claiming that 2012 will be one of their best vintages of the past decade. Similar claims are being made across the Chilean wine regions, where Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon had an especially good year. These two grape varietals also produced characterful wines on the coastal regions of South Africa this year.