At a short distance from Châteauneuf-du-Pape on the Rhône, Lirac was traditionally best known for its rosés, but increasingly, its full-bodied, affordable red wines are taking centre stage. The Lirac AOC is relatively small (770 ha), about a quarter of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC, and produces mainly (85%) red wine from the traditional grape varieties of the Rhône : Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. White wine production has increased steadily over the last 30 years, from 3% to 10% today. The most commonly used white wine varieties are Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Rousanne, Bourboulenc and Viognier.
Interestingly, the central part of the Lirac appellation has the same geological history as Châteauneuf-du-Pape - alluvial terraces composed of pebbles and red clay on a bed of sand, which can only contribute to its goal of producing a wine of superior quality.
Less dominated by Grenache than its neighbours, the current trend is towards a greater proportion of Syrah and Mourvèdre, which gives the wines a pleasant firmness and silky richness and spiciness.