Surviving a Hailstorm… with Wine – Lancyre en Liberté
The story behind 2016 Lancyre en Liberté, review of a Languedoc AOP wine.
On the 17th of August 2016, a big hailstorm hit hard the vineyards of Château de Lancyre, a reputable wine grower of the Pic Saint Loup appellation in Languedoc, South of France.
No less than 80% of the soon-to-be-picked harvest was lost!
The work of a whole year of effort was destroyed. The future sales of the business, their only source of income for a 12-month period to come… in limbo.
How would the winery be able to sustain such a hit, bring their 80 hectares of vineyards (200 acres) to a healthier shape, and continue paying the wages of their 10 employees?
Spontaneously, and generously, a few vine growers around the Languedoc wine region, offered to sell some of their crop to Lancyre instead of making their own wine or taking it to a local cooperative winery.
At least the Château would have some wine to make, and later to sell, in the hope they will be able to keep the customer base that loves their wines and expect them to supply them with their tasty beverage.
Château de Lancyre normally only makes wine with their own grapes, grown on their own estate, mainly under the Pic Saint Loup AOP appellation. 2016 would have to be an exception.
With the grapes from these helpful other growers, the winery’s winemaker, Régis Valentin, put all his savoir-faire (know-how) to make the best possible wine, with the intention of keeping it tempting, fruity, and approachable so the new 2016 wine would actually sell… and well.
The ‘Lancyre en Liberté’ cuvée was born… (understand ‘Freedom for Lancyre’).
The wine comes under the Languedoc AOP appellation, and at a more affordable price (€7.5 at the cellar door) than the winery’s usual products.
The blend is a typical Languedoc GSMC blend of 55% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% Carignan.
So, is Lancyre en Liberté any good?
To bring my little contribution to helping this winery hit by the misfortune of bad weather, I’ve accepted to tell their story, and review the wine.
Here are my…
This Languedoc red comes in a rather dark red color, a dark red to the core with a bright red and purple hues to the rim. Looking youthful and intensely lively!
The nose is predominantly fruity, fresh blackberry, ripe strawberry, and dark cherry, with delicate savory notes of black olive, and some spicy black pepper.
It is in fact a little minty, eucalyptus-like (gum tree) to smell at. Agitate, or preferably swirl the glass, and the forest-floor earthiness and distinct minty liveliness come through even more potently, always mellowed and coated into richly red berry fruitiness. Add a few notes of dark chocolate and French vanilla.
Tempting, pungent, and in the end, pretty complex to smell at!
The palate features a round body, soft tannins of medium concentration that are very smooth, and an ok acidity, yet a good-enough one to bring some life into the fresh berry flavors that are precise and clear.
The whole feels mellowed, rich and coating by plenty of vanilla and sweet caramel. Big burst of peppery and sweet spices on the mid-palate, together with ripe, almost jammy red berry fruit.
A very good Languedoc red, featuring some spicy character, and an enjoyable earthiness and savoriness from pleasing black olive flavors. Big bursts of rich ripe black berry fruit notes are coated in an opulent oaky vanilla richness, for a pleasing whole.
Given the price tag, Lancyre en Liberté is certainly an excellent-QPR of a buy!
Tasty, well-made, with the typical and authentic character of good Languedoc red.
As a bonus, at drinking it, you will also enjoyably help this wine producer overcome their very current difficulty.
Side note to readers: it is my understanding that many California wine producers also need help, by simply buying their wine, after huge fires ravaged the North Bay area.
Thanks for reading.