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Domaine Lafage Vin du Pays Cote d'Est 2010

Other White Blends from France
  • RP90
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Winemaker Notes

The Grenache Blanc, which makes up the bulk of this bottling, comes from vines over 80 years old. The blend delivers fresh aromas with bright fruit. The Cote Est vines are located on the eastern side of the hill exposing the grapes to more sunlight in the morning with cooler temperatures in the afternoon, which is ideal for producing such a fresh wine.

Blend: 60% Grenache Blanc, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Marsanne

Critical Acclaim

RP 90
The Wine Advocate

The Lafage 2010 Cote Est - comprising, as usual, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Chardonnay, and a bit of Marsanne - is delightfully scented with honeysuckle and iris, and its palate combination of juicy lime with the bite of cress, tangerine rind, and persistent inner-mouth florality put me in mind of some top-notch, lighter Gruner Veltliner. In fact, this harbors 13% alcohol yet finishes with a striking sense of levity, not to mention combining subtle but alluring textural enrichment via the lees with refreshing vivacity and intriguing, mouthwatering hints of iodine and salt. Look for it to prove phenomenally versatile over the next 12-18 months. As explained in issue 183, this blend is assembled as juice (not as wine) following a 12-15 day super-cold but gentle settling period for each variety and lot - just one of the many examples of wholly unorthodox Lafage methods resulting in something extraordinary, here above all in terms of uncanny balance as well as improbable price-quality rapport.

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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.

Willamette Valley

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One of Pinot Noir’s most successful New World outposts...

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One of Pinot Noir’s most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a temperate climate moderated by Pacific Ocean influence, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture—warm and dry summers allow for steady, even ripening, and frost is rarely a risk during spring and even winter. Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation, cooler vineyard sites. The three prominent soil types here create significant difference in wine styles between vineyards and sub-AVAs—the iron-rich, basalt-based Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and holds water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton, and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals; and the silty loess found in the Chehalem Mountains, somewhere in between the other two in texture, is fertile and well-draining but erodes easily, creating challenges for growers but necessitating careful vineyard management.

The celebrated Pinot Noir of the Willamette Valley typically offers supple red fruit, especially cranberry, without the powerful punch often packed by its California counterparts. Elegance is paramount here, and fruit flavors are balanced by forest floor, wild mushroom, and dried herbs—much more in line with Burgundian examples of the variety. Chardonnay too takes its inspiration from the French motherland, focusing on tart, crisp fruit and minerality, rarely relying upon heavy new oak. Pinot Gris here is fleshy and bright, and Riesling is dry, aromatic, and citrus-focused.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow...

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

PIO0030_8804_2010 Item# 113232

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