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Domaine Lafage Cuvee Centenaire Blanc 2011

Other White Blends from France
  • RP92
0% ABV
  • RP90
  • RP92
  • RP91
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Winemaker Notes

The name "Centenaire" refers to how the age of vines for this wine are 100+ years old. This wine come from 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.

Blend: 80% Grenache Blanc/Grenache Gris, 20% Roussane

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Cuvee Centenaire is another intriguing blend that demonstrates the brilliance of Eric Solomon in finding wines of such high quality that are priced remarkably low. It is composed of 80% Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris (the latter grape is rarely seen) blended with 20% Roussanne, and aged in both stainless steel (70%) and new French oak (30%). The Grenache vines, which are over 100 years of age, are planted within sight of the Mediterranean Sea. Lots of wet gravel, crushed rock, honeysuckle, acacia flower, quince and white currant notes give this wine a character that could easily be mistaken as a serious white Hermitage from the northern Rhone. Perhaps it's the wine’s minerality or power and richness. This evolved, medium gold-colored effort offers fresh, full-throttle flavors that would marry beautifully with intensely flavored fish dishes, saffron-laced seafood soups, or shellfish.
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Domaine Lafage

Domaine Lafage

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Domaine Lafage, France
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Although only in his thirties, Jean-Marc Lafage already has almost 15 years of worldclass winemaking behind him. One of the most sought-after winemakers of Europe at the moment, Jean-Marc lends his expertise with Southern European varietals to several top estates in both France and Spain (he makes Las Rocas Garnacha with Eric Solomon) and also in South America. However, his best work is perhaps at home at his estate in the hills of the Roussillon with his wife, also an accomplished winemaker.

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.

Nearly synonymous with fine wine and all things epicurean, France has a culture of wine production and consumption that is deeply rooted in tradition. Many of the world’s most beloved grape varieties originated here, as did the concept of “terroir”—soil type, elevation, slope angle and mesoclimate combine to produce resulting wines that convey a sense of place. Accordingly, most French wine is labeled by geographical location, rather than grape variety. So a general understaning of which grapes correspond to which regions can be helpful in navigating all of the types of French wine. Some of the greatest wine regions in the world are here, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, and Champagne, but each part of the country has its own specialties and strengths.

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, are the king and queen of Burgundy, producing elegant red and white wines with great acidity, the finest examples of which can age for decades. The same varieties, along with Pinot Meunier, are used in Champagne. Of comparable renown is Bordeaux, focused on bold, structured red wines made of blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc including sometimes a small amount of Petit Verdot or Malbec. The primary white varieties of Bordeaux are Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The Rhône Valley is responsible for monovarietal Syrah in the north, while the south specializes in Grenache blends; Rhône's main white variety is Viognier.

Most of these grape varieties are planted throughout the country and beyond, extending their influence into other parts of Europe and New World appellations.

Other White Blends

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With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

SWS320182_2011 Item# 122075