2017 Domaine Lafage IGP Cotes Catalanes Narassa

Year: 2017
Appellation: Cotes Catalanes, Languedoc Roussillon
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 90
Jeb Dunnuck: 94
Red Wine
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"An 80-20 blend of Grenache and Syrah, the 2017 IGP Cotes Catalanes Narassa is another Lafage wine that goes into demi-muids (15% new) for its élevage. It's lifted and floral, with ripe black cherry flavors and a fair whack of vanilla, but there are also sweet cola-like notes. It's full-bodied and plush yet finishes a bit quickly. Keep the borderline sweetness in mind when selecting it to serve alongside food." (WA)

"Almost too good to be true, the 2017 Narassa is based on 82% Grenache and 18% Syrah, with the Grenache coming from the black slate soils of Maury and the Syrah from the higher elevation, sandy, granitic soils of Saint Martin de Fenouillet. Brought up all in used barrels, this full-bodied, deep, meaty Syrah reminds me a top California GSM blend and has a rocking nose of white pepper, black olives, cedarwood, and ample black fruits. At this quality, they could charge three to four times the price. Drink it over the coming 3-4 years." (JD)

Winery Notes:
For well over a decade we have worked with Jean-Marc Lafage at his estate in the Roussillon, and across the border in Spain where he consults on several projects. As good as his wines were, when we first met him, they only get better with each vintage. When we first made his acquaintance in Calatayud, he suggested we visit his estate in the Roussillon and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage farm 160 hectares of vines located just south of the capital of French Catalonia, Perpignan. Some of their vineyards are situated a few kilometers from the Mediterranean while others can be found in the foothills of the Pyrenees. This range of sites allow them to make both refreshing whites as well as concentrated reds and, this being the Roussillon, some fortifed wines as well. Benefiting from a warm, dry climate, the estate is farmed organically. They grow primarily Grenache (Blanc, Gris & Noir), Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay with a signi cant proportion of the 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 stainless steel for the fresher whites but mostly concrete tanks for the rest with a small amount of French oak demi-muids.

La Narassa is sourced from the famed black schist soils of the Agly valley in the northern Roussillon near the village of Maury. It is made in a semi-ripasso style by harvesting the Grenache and Syrah in successive passes picking only the ripest clusters. Once at the cellars the fruit is destemmed and only the best berries are chosen for fermentation after a short pre-fermentation maceration.