September 2018 Imported Wine: Domaine Lafage, Bastide Miraflors-Vielles Vignes, Cotes du Roussillon, France
Fine Wine Source Wine
Domaine Lafage is a leading estate in the Roussillon region in France. Winemaker Jean-Marc Lafage is one of Europe’s most highly regarded winemakers and has worked as a consultant in multiple countries. The domaine makes dry wines of all hues under the Côtes du Roussillon AOC along with sweet Maury, Rivesaltes, and Muscat de Rivesaltes wines. In recent years, various wines in the portfolio have received strong marks from Robert Parker in the Wine Advocate. Prices are very modest for the level of acclaim and therefore the wines have become highly sought-after. In fact, Parker called the 2011 Kerbuccio, a Syrah/Grenache/ Mourvèdre blend “one of the top wine values I have ever tasted”. Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage farm 160 hectares of vines located just south of the capital of French Catalonia, Perpignan. Some of their vineyards are situated very close to the Mediterranean, while others can be found in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Benefiting from a warm, dry climate, the estate is farmed organically. They grow primarily Grenache (Blanc, Gris & Noir), Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay with a significant proportion of the vines well over 50 years old. The soil is weathered, alluvial gravel, while in the higher elevation sites it is predominantly schist. They harvest by hand and the winemaking approach is minimalist, with stainless steel, concrete, and small amounts of French oak, and demi-muids. The Lafage cellars are located just outside Perpignan, though it has also has vineyards at Les Aspres and Agly. Domaine Lafage has around 160 hectares (400 acres) of vineyards with vines that are as much as 100 years old. For well over a decade Eric Solomon has worked with Jean-Marc Lafage at his estate in the Roussillon, and across the border in Spain where he consults on several projects.
The Bastide Miraflors is a custom cuvée for Eric Solomon’s European Cellars and a joint project with Jean-Marc Lafage. Bastide Miraflors is a cuvée created from Grenache grown on rocky, alluvial clay soils resembling those of the Rhône Valley combined with Syrah grown on schist in the village of Maury. After a long maceration of six weeks the wine ages for 12 months in concrete (Grenache) and 600L French oak demi-muids (Syrah).
70% Syrah & 30% Vielles Vignes (Old Vine) Grenache.
Tasting Notes (from Robert Parker):
“This wine is almost too good to be true. A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was brought up in concrete tanks (Grenache) and demi-muids (Syrah), the 2015 Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes reminded me of a mini Syrah from California’s Manfred Krankl (yes I just compared a $14 Syrah to Sine Qua Non). It’s a ripe, sexy, heady beauty that exhibits a deep, purple color as well as killer notes of smoked meats, chocolate, blackberry and black raspberries. Deep, unctuous, open knit and layered, it continues to change in the glass, has a seamless and silky profile, and not a hard edge to be found. It’s a sensational value that needs to be tasted to be believed. Drink it anytime over the coming 2-4 years.”
Think early fall comfort foods: Savory sage meatloaf, lasagna, Rosemary herbed potatoes, BBQ/smoked pork loin, country style spare ribs.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:
The best Syrah based wine you can buy for the money! Rich, yet elegant, on the palate with a silky and satisfying finish…WOW, what a wine!!!