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Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes 2012
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.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
As for the two red wines, the 2012 Bastide Miraflors is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache aged in a combination of concrete tanks (for the Grenache) and demi-muids (for the Syrah). It went through a six week maceration, which no doubt explains the wine's seriously intense fruit. Notes of violets, forest floor, black cherry jam and blackberries make an appearance in this medium-bodied, high-toned, dense, rich, complex, well-delineated red wine.
As the varietals come from different parcels all around the Eastern and Central Roussillon, they are always vinified separately, and then blended before bottling. The whites never pass through malolactic and the property always searches for freshness and expressive aromas in the blends. The reds can often show off a mineral component as Jean-Marc does not favor heavy extraction. Yields are amazingly low for wines at this price level. The wines are bottled unfiltered.
A large and diverse appellation within California’s North Coast AVA, Mendocino is home to several smaller sub-regions—most notably the Anderson Valley. This scenic region covered in redwood forests is one of the world’s top producers of certified organically-grown grapes. Due to wide geographical and climatic variation, a vast array of wine styles can be found here.
Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.
In the Glass
Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.
Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.
Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.