Château de Montfaucon, Lirac (Rhône Valley, France) “Comtesse Madeleine” 2021

($30):  Lirac, an often-overlooked appellation of the southern Rhône just to the west of Châteauneuf du Pape, is one of two Rhône appellations that makes all three colors, reds, whites, and rosés.  (Vacqueyras is the other.)  From what I heard from many during my recent trip to the area, Château de Montfaucon is one of the leading producers there.  After tasting this splendid white, I have no reason to disagree.  Made from a single variety, Clairette, the Comtesse Madeleine is atypical for the estate which usually uses a blend of grapes for their wines.  The vines are old and are planted on a sandy limestone soil.  The oak-aging shows but is not overwhelming or intrusive.  It just reinforces the wine’s power and depth.  A bold white to be sure, the Comtesse Madeleine cuvée, their flagship white, has impeccable balance, hints of citrus, and fabulous freshness.  It is opulent without being oily or heavy.  If you can resist its substantial charms now, I would give it a year or two to come together more.
95 Michael Apstein Apr 11, 2023