In a nutshell: Fresh, mouthfilling and rewarding orange wine from Côtes Catalanes in the Roussillon of South West France
The lowdown: Domaine Lafage are a Roussillon producer with a proud Catalan heritage, hence why on the bottle they have labelled it Côtes Catalanes, not Côtes du Roussillon, and have named it Taronja, the Catalan word for Orange. Made in conjunction with their neighbour and friend Justin Howard-Sneyd MW of Domaine of the Bee, this is a blend of old vine Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc with a bit of Muscat and Viognier. Only four barrels were fermented, a mix of carbonic maceration, whole bunch, and destemmed and then the wine was left to macerate on its skins for two weeks. The result is a wine light amber/copper in colour (from the time macerating on the skins) and full of flavour. Orange peel, white pepper, ginger, melon and citrus fruit with light, dry tannins and fresh acidity on the palate. Mouthfilling with a long, persistent and clean finish
When to drink: Wonderfully refreshing and versatile, try with pork dishes, cold cuts, or just as an aperitif with savoury snacks.
Jean-Marc Lafages family has been growing grapes in Roussillon for six generations but it was Jean-Marc who had the ambition to stop selling the grapes to the local co-op and create his own domaine so that he could produce wines with reflecting his own style and apporach. He and his oenologist wife, Eliane, founded Domaine Lafage in 1996 and the estate now runs to some 138 hectares of vines across Roussillon, with parcels in the Agly Valley, Aspres and Perpignan.
The Agly Valley, with its black shale and layered schist soil in the shadow of ruined Cathar castles is one of Europes most exciting terroirs. Eliane and Jean-Marc specialise in growing old vines that impart pronounced minerality and concentration to their wines. Whilst the region is best known for its reds they whites they produce are of the absolute best quality and certainly shouldnt be overlooked.