Jill BarthTasteWines and Spirits of Provence

Road Trip to Taste the Lirac Wines

France’s Rhône River runs north to south, beginning in the Swiss Alps and eventually finding its way to the Mediterranean Sea. Populating its banks are world-renowned vineyards, divided into Northern and Southern designationsthe latter of which includes the Lirac Cru.

In a valley where wines are classified by region – not variety – possessing this Cru designation is a key distinction, as there are only 13. Though Lirac was officially recognized as such in the 1940s, the area has been known for quality vineyards since the middle ages, famous for fresh, aromatic and structured wines. Read her full article on Palate Press.

…Continue reading here for Jill’s L’Occasion blog post where she shares some tips on a road trip to Lirac in the Gard. Located a short drive from Avignon or Orange, Lirac is a small village with great wine. Overshadowed by its better-known neighbour Châteauneuf du Pape across the Rhône River the wines of this wine-growing area are waiting to be discovered.

The Romans first established grapevines in this wine-growing region, like the balance of the Southern Rhône Valley. Since 1947, the wines of Lirac fall under an appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC). Producers follow a strict set of AOC regulations making Lirac’s wines are every bit as complex and interesting as other Côtes du Rhône wines. The majority of wine produced from the 715 hectares of vineyards is red at 87%, rosé and white make up the balance.

Southern Rhône Valley

As the river valley widens and the steep slopes give way to rolling hills, you have arrived in the Southern Rhône Valley. Encompassing vast geography, the Southern Rhône eclipses the north with 95% of the total production. There are many more grape varietals grown, although each AOC dictates the types and amounts permitted within the guidelines. Except for Châteauneuf-du-Pape, most of these appellations include rosé production.

The principal of biodynamic winemaking starts with the philosophy of taking care of the soil. With that in mind, there are no chemicals used on weeds, on the vines, or the grapes. Jill visited the Montirius vineyard, which is certified by BIODYVIN. This group of almost 150 winemakers in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland all follow established eco-friendly protocols. Learn more about biodynamic wine in the Southern Rhône.

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Jill Barth

Jill Barth

Jill is a writer whose characters make wine, love wine, and live wine. Research for her forthcoming novel–the story of a Provençal winemaking family during the Second World War–has afforded her glorious pleasures: meetings with ambitious French vignerons, travel up and down France in bouncy Renaults, overnights in shuttered châteaux, and many hours as a student of wine with a glass to her lips. In this role, she not only enjoys her own relationship with wine but she also indulges in the life of the French winemaking family that inhabits the pages of her novel.

Jill writes about wine, travel and occasionally yoga (she’s a certified yoga instructor). Her fiction has been featured on NPR and has been published in several literary journals.

Her writings can also be found on her blog L’Occasion.

Follow along with Jill on twitter and instagram.


  1. blank
    Keith Van Sickle
    November 28, 2018 at 11:20 am — Reply

    There are so many great wines in the southern Rhône! Thanks to Jill for this excellent description of Lirac.

    • blank
      November 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm — Reply

      Hi Keith: you are right there are so many wines to try. And, even though I have tested my fair share, there seems to be a never-ending supply. ;-)

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