Lirac & Tavel
Domaine de la Mordorée
Mordorée is a domaine that has achieved world wide fame in just a few decades – In 1986 aged just 24 Christophe Delorme launched the domaine alongside his father with 12ha of vines around the village of Tavel – inherited from his grandmother. They rapidly expanded the vineyard to its present 60ha, on 38 plots, in Tavel and Lirac and Cotes du Rhone plus, from 1993, 5ha of Chateauneuf du Pape. Mordorée refers to the local Provencal name for the woodcock (father Delorme was a keen chasseur). Some of the wines are given the cuvée name “Reine des Bois” – Queen of the Woods. Mordorée has been certified organic since 2013. Perhaps unsurprising as their estate straddles 4 different AOCs there is a wide range of wines produced. Amongst the highlights the benchmark Tavel rosé (Robert Parker, not known for his admiration of the category had to concede this is a world class wine, recent vintages have been collecting 93 points). The red and white Liracs are also exceptional – the red with long aging potential with its third apiece blend of GSM; the white, a favorite of mine, with body and rich fruit but with racy acidity helped along with a dash of Picpoul. The red Chateauneuf from plots at La Crau, La Nerthe, Cabrières and Le Bois de la Ville is in a relatively modern style, big fruit forward wines with a polish of oak – a consistent favourite of the critics. Wine maker Christophe died of a heart attack in June 2015 at the incredibly young age of 52 – it is to be hoped that Mordorée can maintain their obsessive regard for quality across their range in the wake of this sad event.
Domaine Maby and La Fermade will be familiar to many British customers of the Wine Society and Yapp brothers. The Domaine is located in the heart of the village of Tavel. Here Richard Maby took over the reins from his father Roger only very recentlly . . . his first vintage was the 2005. There are 60 hectares here covering Tavel, Lirac and Cotes du Rhone. Richard spent many years working on the Paris bourse before committing himself full-time to the life of a vigneron.
He comes across as a man full of energy and determination to improve quality and to stamp his own mark on production methods. Unlike his father, Richard prefers to mature in lined concrete cuve rather than the traditional foudre that still dominate the chai. For his white Lirac he has introduced 20% Picpoul – a rare sighting in the Rhone valley – to the Grenache blanc and the Clairette.
His rationale is to raise the acidity level – anyone who has experienced Picpoul de Pinet (Languedoc’s answer to the rasping Gros Plant of the Loire valley) will get this immediately. And it works – this is one of the most mouthwateringly crisp white rhones I have tasted, it’s delicious. There are four reds, a barrique aged cuvee prestige, the staple of the range – a traditional Lirac “La Fermade”, a fruity Cotes du Rhone “Variations”” and a Vin de Pays Coteaux de Ceze. All Maby’s reds show great typicity and character and the Lirac is capable of ageing . . . a Fermade from 1994 showed superbly at a recent La Madelene tasting.
Maby’s Tavel rosè is a tad chunkier, darker, and more rustic than some other quality producers but nonetheless packed with summer fruit, floral notes, is crisp and well balanced. Alongside two vintage pink champagne’s Maby’s Tavel was voted best Rosè of the year in the December 2007 issue of Decanter.