Domaine Lafage - a small selection
Domaine Lafage is based at Mas Miraflors, outside Canet-en-Roussillon. Altogether the business includes three estates, the largest near the sea, as well as 20 hectares in les Aspres, and in 2007 they have bought the estate of St Roch in Maury, which has its own cellar. In addition, there is a recent purchase of 17 hectares in St. Paul-de-Fenouillet for white wine, and another acquisition in Rivesaltes is being converted to organic viticulture, making a total of 260 hectares. Their beginnings were small. 1995 was Jean-Marc and Eliane’s first vintage, just 1000 bottles of a Muscat de Rivesaltes. Then in 2001 Jean-Marc took over the family vineyards and acquired Mas Miraflors in 2006. The Lafage family came from Maury; Jean-Marc’s grandfather was one of four brothers, three of whom settled in Canet, and one stayed in Maury at Domaine du Dernier Bastion.
They make an extensive range of wines, from the simple entry level to the more complex. A few came my way recently.
2019 Côté Est, Pay d’Oc – 7.90€
A blend of 50% Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris, with 30% Chardonnay and 20% Roussanne. The Grenache are 60 years old and the vines are planted east /west, which helps maintain a cooler temperature and some freshness. Each grape variety is fermented separately, and given some ageing on the fine lees. The aim is easy drinking, as it partners Côté Rose and the red Côté Sud, as the entry level to the range, but even at that level it demonstrates the success of Roussillon for producing white wine. The colour is light and the nose is fresh and pity, with the same pithiness on the palate, and some stony fruit. It is nicely rounded, with what the French call un joli amer on the finish – a nice bitterness. There are moments in French wine tasting when bitterness can be a quality, which of course it never is in English. Appealing and refreshing.
2018 Authentique, Côtes du Roussillon – 9.60€
A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan from different terroirs, and the aim is a wine that is truly representative of Roussillon. Most of the wine is aged in vat, but about 20% spends twelve months in French oak. Deep colour. Ripe black fruit on the nose, and on the palate a hint of vanilla and a streak of tannin, with ripe rounded fleshy fruit. 14.5° but it carries its alcohol well and does not taste alcoholic or heavy; on the contrary. Quite simply, it is a jolly nice glass of wine that is authentically Roussillon.
2019 Le Rétro, Vin de France – 10.00€
Carignan, Lledoner Pelut, Grenache Noir and Grenache Gris. There is a story on the website about a wine made from the grapes picked at the end of the harvest in early October. They were not suitable for vin doux, and instead served to make a refreshing everyday wine. Bright light red in colour, with perfumed fresh fruit. A touch of acidity and tannin with good fruit and a fresh finish. Quite light in the mouth and indeed a modest 12.5°. Served slightly chilled, it could be termed Roussillon’s answer to Beaujolais, and I say that, liking Beaujolais.