Chateau La Devoy Martine (Rhone Valley, St. Laurent-les-Arbes)
AOC Lirac and Cotes-du-Rhone, Vin du Pays du Gard
I visited Veronique Lombardo on an unusually cool day this past August and her father was in a heated negotiation with the local tire dealer about a tractor wheel problem. He was not taking no for an answer and eventually got the tire replaced but also got the dealer to promise them free lobsters for their New Year's dinner.
I love this story because it speaks to the organized chaos that's happening at Devoy-Martine. The winery is a ramshackle of hoses, tubes, tanks, barrels, and other equipment. But once in the bottle Veronique's wine is all class--polished, pure, and delightful.
There's a rough decision to make when visiting here. Everything is really, really good. But alas, we can't buy everything! But when Veronique showed me this "welcome mat" Pays du Gard--a juicy blend of Rhone grape varieties her dad's eyes lit up as if to say, "show 'em this wine. They'll come back for all the others then..."
Lirac is an appellation I would call the most southern of the southern Rhone. As such this is a quite warm, roasted climate that yields wines that are succulent, ripe, and concentrated. You'll enjoy these wines with a nice hearty winter stew, but probably not with lobster.