Thursday, October 1, 2009

Domaine LaFage Cote Est Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalans, 2008

The label and packaging of this wine will cause it to jump out at you from the shelf. The screw off cap is a light spring green, the same color as the vine that curls its tendrils across the label. This wine comes from the Catalan region in the Pyrenees of southern France, just across the border from Spain. Jean-Marc LaFage, in his 30s, comes from a family that has been producing wine for six generations, but he and his wife, Eliane, have traveled to Australia, Chile, South Africa and California to learn about wine making and wine marketing. This wine is a product of their learning--bright, fresh and modern but with traditional roots. The cuvee is 60% old vine Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris, 20% Chardonnay and 10% Marsanne, fermented and aged in stainless steel (no oak) to preserve the fresh, lively fruit flavors and aromas.

The first sniff of this wine makes you say, WOW. It's not Sauvignon Blanc, but it has all the excitement of the New Zealand Frenzy I reported on earlier [July 10 and August 5, 2009]. I smell spring flowers, lemon, green apples, almonds and an intriguing musky note. On the palate, it has racy acidity and flavors that keep coming at you fromn all directions--not quite like any wine I've tasted before. It would drink beautifully with Asian fusion food.

When the label jumps at you, go ahead and buy the bottle. It's $9.99 right now at D&W FreshMarkets in Michigan and, if you're on Roz Mayberry's email list, you can get a case for $99. Robert Parker has reviewed the wine and given it 90 points so it should be readily available across the country.

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