Roussillon, the southernmost part of France bordering Spain, is a warm and dry region that has lived in the shadow of Languedoc, it’s larger and better-known neighbor to the east. The region is renowned for its sweet wines, but there are some fantastic dry wines and great values coming out of Roussillon.
One of them is the 2018 Côtes du Roussillon “Bastide Miraflors” from Domaine Lafage. This delicious red wine is a blend of Syrah (70 percent) and old-vine Grenache (30 percent), two of the region’s main red varieties. The grapes are grown organically by Jean-Marc Lafage in schist, granite, and alluvial gravel soils on vines that are more than 50 years old.
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The wine shows concentrated fruit but is not heavy, even though alcohol weighs in at a substantial 14.5 percent. Notes of raspberry, violets, and blueberry are accented by hints of black licorice and minerals. The oak influence is restrained; 75 percent of the wine is aged in concrete tanks, the rest in larger oak barrels. With its fruit-forward character, it’s drinking beautifully right now.
This is a versatile red wine that will pair well with everything from grilled meats and duck breasts to roast chicken and vegetable risottos. At $16, it over-delivers on complexity and highlights the quality of wine coming out of Roussillon at unbeatable prices.
Domaine Lafage is a large patchwork of vineyard sites covering about 400 acres in varying terroirs in Roussillon. The Lafage family has been growing grapes and making wine there since 1791. Through most of that history, the grapes were sold to local cooperatives for wine production. Jean-Marc Lafage was the first to break from that model and produce his own wines.
His Bastide Miraflors is a great introduction to the region and to the wines of Domaine Lafage.