Domaine Lafage Tessellae Old Vines GSM 2019
A joint venture between Eric Solomon and Jean-Marc Lafage, Tessellae old vines is assembled from vineyards on schist that Jean-Marc Lafage farms near Maury in the Agly valley. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, it is harvested by hand, fermented for a month after a short pre-fermentation maceration, and aged entirely in concrete tanks.
Blend: 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Jean-Marc farms (with some help!) 160 hectares of vines located just south of the capital of French Catalonia, Perpignan. Some of his family’s vineyards are situated a few kilometers from the Mediterranean, while others can be found further inland in the foothills of the Pyrenees or near the village of his birth, Maury. This range of sites allows him to make both refreshing whites, rich, concentrated reds, and fortified wines as well. Benefiting from a warm, dry climate, the estate is farmed organically. They grow primarily Grenache (Blanc, Gris & Noir), Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay with a significant proportion of his 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 mainly concrete tanks for the reds with a judicious amount of large French oak barrels for aging.
Although it is a region predominantly recognized for fortified, vins doux naturels (a type of sweet wine), Roussillon is also ideal for the production of dry red, white and rose wines. To encompass all the dry wines from the surrounding region that are not the vins doux naturels of Banyuls, Maury and Rivesaltes, the appellation of Côtes du Roussillon was created in 1977. It covers the eastern half of the Pyrénées-Orientales (the eastern side of the Pyrenees Mountains) and lower lands of Roussillon. Côtes du Roussillon includes complex soils of schist, limestone, gneiss and granite and climatic conditions that support many grape varieties.
Côtes du Roussillon red wines are blends made from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and smaller amounts of Carignan, Cinsault and the lesser known, Lledoner Pelut. Rosé wines come from the same varieties, as well as may include Grenache Gris and Macabeo. White wines from Côtes du Roussillon are Grenache Blanc and Macabeo with small amounts of Marsanne, Roussanne and Rolle (aka Vermentino).
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.