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Domaine Lafage Tessellae Old Vines GSM 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

The 2011 Tessellae Old Vines is a Red Rhone blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Grenache Gris. Organically farmed, this wine opens to a large bouquet of dark berries, floral aromas and garrigue of southern France. A large presence on the palate with a velvety characteristic to the finish this wine is ready to drink now.

Blend: 40% Syrah. 40% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 5% Grenache Gris.

Critical Acclaim

RP 93
The Wine Advocate

The least expensive offering is the 2011 Tessellae Old Vines Cotes du Roussillon, an intriguing blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Grenache Gris, a rare white grape. It was aged 12 months in concrete tanks prior to being bottled unfiltered. It boasts an expansive, intense, complex bouquet of garrigue, strawberries and black cherries intermixed with a hint of spring flowers, a velvety texture and a voluptuous mouthfeel.

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Domaine Lafage

Domaine Lafage

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Domaine Lafage, , France - Other regions
Domaine Lafage
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.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

SWS335184_2011 Item# 128360

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