Understanding French Wine Labels Using Château St Roch Lirac
January 17, 2016
Don’t be scared of the name, I’m here to help break down the Château St Roch Lirac. Some people tend to be put off by wines they don’t understand. French wines in particular because the labels don’t clearly indicate what’s inside the bottle. Don’t worry, it’s not just you … it’s a wine thing. So let’s tackle it, shall we?
Château St Roch Lirac 2012. So what does that mean? It comes from Château St Roch in France. For simplicities sake, think of a chateau as a winery or estate. Lirac is the area or region in which the grapes are grown. In this instance, Lirac is a village in the Rhone region which is in the south of France. Because of French wine rules (which are strict!), by having ‘Lirac’ on the label, we know which grape varieties are used to make the wine (since certain areas are restricted to growing certain varietals). So in this bottle of Château St. Roch Lirac, we’re tasting a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah.
This is an extreme nutshell explanation of how to read a French wine label, perhaps I’ll expand upon the tricks of the trade at a later time. In the meantime, let’s chat about the wine!
At first whiff Château St. Roch Lirac smelled luscious and full. I didn’t have a chance to taste it right away because one of the babies started crying. After going back 10 minutes later it had already changed and had lost some of the initial fruity aromas. I have a feeling that if I’d had a chance to taste this vintage a year ago or earlier, the full red fruit aromas would have translated beautifully when drank. But instead, I picked up some more herbaceous and peppery notes when sipping. A tad too minerally for my taste without food to accompany. Perhaps we should have had it alongside some spicy meat skewers or lamb as the Château St. Roch Lirac website suggests.
This isn’t one I’d go back to any time soon, maybe if I get my hands on a newer vintage I could compare and hope to get some of the red berry and cherry notes it was meant to have.