CHATEAU LANCYRE: Special Wines from a Special Place.

Owned by Regis Valentin (vigneron, winemaker, and motive force), the Ch. Lancyre estate in the Languedoc’s top appellation of Pic St. Loup is located 15 miles inland from the Mediterranean shore at 2,000 feet of elevation. Pic Saint-Loup’s summer days can top 100°F but night-time temperatures almost always drop to below 60°F and sometimes even below 50°F.

The chateau was built in the 1500’s on the ruins of a 12th century fort. Records of winemaking in the building date back to 1550 and ruins of stone cuves from that period are still visible. In 1970, the Durand and Valentin families bought the chateau and 37 acres of Carignan and Cinsault vines. While the two families worked to restore the facilities to good working, they also planted additional acreage of Syrah and Grenache. At the time of the purchase, the Durands already had 30 acres of their own vineyards, including a small recently planted parcel of Syrah, one of the first in Languedoc. The Valentins also brought in their own 20 acres, mostly Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault. Today the Domaine consists of 128 acres of AOC vineyards, mostly in Pic Saint-Loup, with all of the appellation wine estate-bottled at the Château. Overall, Lancyre is one of the the top wine estates in the Languedoc producing fine wines in useful quantities at fair prices.

The Wines:
Ch. de LANCYRE Rosé, Pic St. Loup, 2016 ($13.29)
A Rosé blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Cinsault grown on clay/limestone-based soils made using a mix of 80% direct press and 20% tank-bled (saignee) wines, aged three months in tank with no malo-lactic fermentation.    Red-salmon-pink in color, bright and clear with good legs; dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and very light phenolics.  Bigger, richer, darker food Rosé almost in the chillable red range. Riper red fruits with minimal citrus and more richness and texture in the mouth but with plenty of mineral-earth to give if definition and character. If Rosé can be serious, this is. A great choice for Rosé with foods including dry hams, olives, nuts, and potato chips as well as richer seafood soups and stews and even roast fowl served with a green salad. BearScore: 92.

Having drunk the excellent Lancyre Le Rosé got me thinking about the red Pic St. Loup wines from Ch. de Lancyre. Stylistically, Ch. Lancyre’s Pic St. Loup wines split the difference between a higher level Seguret or Gigondas (Southern Rhone) wine and a Cote Rotie (Northern Rhone) but at a price more like that of a good Seguret. If you like a fine Rhone-style red, check out Ch. Lancyre’s reds.

Ch. de LANCYRE Coste d’Aleyrac, Pic St. Loup, 2015 ($14.99)
A blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% old vine Carignan all grown on clay over limestone given a warm 15 day cuvaison and aged entirely in stainless steel tanks (no oak barrels).     Purple-red color with well formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and medium-plus phenolics.   Fresh and lively and more Grenache flavors than the blend would indicate. Delicious mix of red and darker red fruit and garrigue that surpasses a lot of Cotes du Rhone Villages at higher prices. Perfect with braises and stews. Yum. BearScore: 91+.

Ch. LANCYRE Vielles Vignes, Pic St. Loup, 2015 ($19.94)
A blend of 65% Syrah and 35% Grenache from 30+ year old vines fermented and given a total of 21 days of skin-contact in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Aged in tank with no barrels used.   Purple-red color with well formed legs; dry, medium-plus-bodied with balanced acidity and medium chewy phenolics.   Supple rich young red and darker red fruit Grenache flavors (despite the dominant Syrah content) and garrigue red with black pepper spice and depth. Dimensional and textured with a great feel in the mouth. BearScore: 93.

For a mature expression showing what some aging can do:
Ch. de LANCYRE Vieilles Vignes, Pic St. Loup, 2009 ($19.94)
A blend of 65% Syrah with 35% Grenache (all grown on clay over limestone at over 2,000 feet of elevation) given a warm 21 day cuvaison. Vinified and aged entirely in stainless steel tanks.     Medium-red with well formed legs; dry, medium-full-bodied with balanced acidity and medium-plus phenolics. While showing good development, this is a balanced, serious Languedoc red offering lots of classic darker red and even somesome black fruit with plenty of of garrigue and a sort of southern dustiness. Deep and satisfying. It was excellent when I first tasted in back in December of 2011 and it just keeps getting better. BearScore: 93.

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