October 2015 Wine Club Selections
Bastide Miraflors 2013 Syrah/Grenache $ 16.99
For well over a decade we have worked with Jean-Marc Lafage at his estate in the Roussillon, and across the border in Spain where he consults on several projects. As good as his wines were, when we first met him, they only get better with each vintage. When we first made his acquaintance in Calatayud, he suggested we visit his estate in the Roussillon and the rest, as they say, is history.
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.
Robert Parker Rated 93!
“I have loved the wines from Domaine Lafage in the past, and this 2013 Bastide Miraflors Cotes Catalanes is one of the greatest red wine values I have tasted in the last year or so. A custom cuvee put together by Eric Solomon and Jean-Marc Lafage, it is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that spent one year in 80% concrete tank (Grenache) and 500-liter demi-muids (Syrah). From a Roussillon vineyard dominated by gallets roules that resembles many Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards, the wine undergoes a long maceration of six weeks. The result is an inky/blue/purple-colored wine offering a big, sweet bouquet of blueberries, blackberries, acacia flowers, pepper and spice. This full-bodied, opulent, majestic dry red unleashes tremendous ripeness, richness and intensity. One would normally think such a superb, remarkable wine would cost over $50 a bottle, but this beauty is available for an astonishing $16 a bottle. You’ll have to taste it to believe it! It should drink well for 2-5 years.”
Beau-Rivage 2013 White Bordeaux $ 10.99
This Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscadelle blend is a lively, vibrant citrine-yellow color with a clean, clear appearance, going out into a faint lemon-yellow to glass-clear rim definition with medium-high viscosity.
The wine has lovely forward floral notes with crushed red apples, honeysuckle, orange blossoms, white currants, apricot jam and pomelo fruit segments with some underlying hints of slight steely volatile acidity and chalky minerals.
The wine features a superbly crisp, balanced flavor profile that denotes a complete harmony between acidity and fruit. There are green apple skins, citrus rind, winter melon, pear sparkler, rose water, white currant juice, toasty, slightly creamy notes of green melon and oodles of fine chalky minerality. The midpalate maintains the excellent balance, and it finishes with yet more white currants and great mineral character. This is a classic example of a good Bordeaux white wine.
Ridge Geyserville 2013 Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah $ 41.99
The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco’s Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892. This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge’s production facility. At 2600′, it is surrounded by the “upper vineyard.”
The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge. This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel. The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres.
Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals. Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.
94 points Antonio Galloni
The 2013 Zinfandel Geyserville is every bit as fabulous from bottle as it was from barrel last year. Ripe and voluptuous on the palate – yet with a super-classic conception of structure, the 2013 offers superb depth and impeccable overall balance. Waves of dark red cherry, pomegranate, spice, tobacco lead to more savory/ferrous notes that develop in the glass. Saline notes give the 2013 much of its energy and vivacity. This is a tremendous effort from Ridge. As is my custom, I have included Ridge’s Sonoma wines here for ease of reference. Readers should note that in 2012 Ridge did not produce their Historic Vineyard Series wines, as all the fruit was used for the Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Monte Bello bottlings. Ridge fans can look forward to a number of special bottlings for the 2013 vintage, including a Monte Bello Historic Vines and Monte Bello Steep Terraces, both of which are shaping up to be magnificent. Unfortunately I was not able to taste the 2014 Lytton Springs on this visit, but I report back on that wine as soon as is practical. (6/2015)
Roth Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $ 16.99
Roth Estate is located in the Alexander Valley AVA at the northern end of Sonoma County, best known for classic Bordeaux varietals, this region produces idyllic growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. Beginning in 2001, Roth committed to producing classic Bordeaux varietals in Alexander Valley. A decade later the winery expanded its winemaking to include cool-climate varietals from the Sonoma Coast.
he 2013 Sauvgnon Blanc is crisp and balanced with a nice vibrant acidity. On the nose, it displays notes of tropical fruits, citrus zest and floral aromas that carry through to the palate with lively flavors of melon and grapefruit. This wine finishes strong for a long, juicy finish.