90WA - "A stunning bargain from Lafage is the 2014 Tessellae Old Vines, a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, all aged in concrete. Much of it comes from 70-year-old vines planted in limestone and clay soils. A delicious, dense ruby wine with notes of red and black cherries, earth, spice, pepper and a touch of Provençal garrigue. Fresh vibrant acidity is also present, and the wine is uncomplicated, but rich, fleshy and very well balanced. Drink it over the next 2-3 years." - Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate, 90 points!
50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre aged in concrete tanks. Organic.
One of the oldest viticultural areas of France, vines in the Roussillon were cultivated by the Romans, and perhaps even before that. With some of the most dramatic topography in France, many of the zones are composed of extremely steep hillsides – resembling the Priorat in Spain in many ways. One of the most sought-after winemakers of Europe at the moment, Jean-Marc Lafage, lends his expertise with Southern European varietals to several top estates in both France and Spain (he makes Evodia and Novellum with Eric Solomon among other custom cuvee projects). However, his best work is perhaps at home at his estate in the hills of the Roussillon with his wife, Eliane, also a highly accomplished winemaker.
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 a few kilometers from the Mediterranean while others can be found in the foothills of the Pyrenees. This range of sites allow them to make both refreshing whites as well as concentrated reds and, this being the Roussillon, some fortified wines as well. Benefiting from a warm, dry climate, the estate is farmed organically. They grow primarily Grenache (Blanc, Gris & Noir), Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay with a significant proportion of the vines well over 50 years old. The soil, as you near the coast is weathered, alluvial gravel while in the higher elevation sites it is predominantly schist. They harvest by hand and the winemaking is surprisingly uncomplicated with stainlesss steel for the fresher whites but mostly concrete tanks for the rest with a small amount of French oak demi-muids.