Alain Jaume Clos de Sixte Lirac Rouge, 2016 (& Alain Jaume Vacqueyras “Grand Garrigue” 2018)

Good golly is the Lirac a wow.  A big fat bottle of satisfaction.

Before we get into it, oh why not get into it: the Lambert cherry that reminds me of the canned cherries from our yard my mum served on ice cream in the 1970s, gobs of juice and melt in the mouth, the oozing fruitcake, the smooth, luscious, extremely defined rush on the tongue, the floral hints that mesh with wood.  Now, after all that, just take a deep breath and ask yourself: Palatable BC red or brilliant old growth Rhone majesty?  Which will you choose for the dollar figure?

We try and Rah Rah Rah for the Okanagan.  We try and go all in on local support and muster round the setting sun of our provincial flag.  But France like this, this is steep competition.  This is better than anything at Black Hills where you will pay between $42 (basic Syrah) and $65 (the lovely Nota Bene) for a bottle, much better than the really appealing Culmina Cab Franc ($40, which we love to drink, just not to pay for) or their flagship Hypothesis ($47 and up, yikes), almost half the price of the enviable Laughing Stock Portfolio (mid $50s), less than the Sandhill Small Lots One ($40 thereabouts, and good luck in sourcing anyway), less than most any Reserve Pinot Noir BC produces, but e.g., the La Frenz ($40, usually sold out), and of course don’t get me started on grey label Haywire or Le Vieux Pin…

This is not to say BC doesn’t produce great reds.  This is to say you pay the price for great reds made in BC.

Rhone red: Hard to find (BC Liquor stocks a mere six Cotes-du-Rhone Villages a go to in restaurants across France).  Must be on an email list with the wine store to know about arriving allotments.  Must pre-order (ideally the day you get the email) or wait a year and, hopefully, there will be more; half case, or mixed half, gets a 10% discount.  If you bother to make the effort there is reward.  The Jaume ticks a lot of reward boxes.

Price: $33.50 with a discount.  Exceptional value.

Market Liquidity: Perseverance Furthers.

And of course we also picked up the 2018 Vacqueyras “Grand Garrigue” at $35, and while we sipped with abundant pleasure, it wasn’t quite as bowl you over as the less expensive Lirac but, check out the BC wine cost references above, the GG was a score, a slice of wine heaven, and a little bit like living in the UK where the choice and options for Rhone reds ooze like failed rough puff on a Comic Relief Bake Off.

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