In a nutshell: An intense, fresh and minerally southern French white from the Catalan coast near Perpignan.
The lowdown: Often considered red wine territory, the impressive Domaine Lafage also make some top notch whites from their vineyards around Perpignan and the foothills of the Pyrenees. This one made with 80% Grenache Gris and 20% Roussanne from vineyards near the sea in Canet en Roussillon certainly deserves plenty of attention. Mostly aged in stainless steel, 30% spends time in new French oak barrel which gives extra texture and complexity. On the nose it's full of citrus, peachy and floral aromas which follows nicely on the palate together with a subte hint of spice. Medium bodied, it has a good length and rounds off with gentle, fresh finish.
When to drink: With it ripe, round flavours it makes good stand-alone drinking and also goes nicely with grilled fish, or poultry dishes.
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.