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Lafage 2009 Côtes Catalanes “Cuvée Nicolas” (Roussillon) – 100% grenache. Goopier than I remember it, or perhaps I’m confusing it with a different cuvée. This expresses a lot of the sticky, bubblegummy flaws of hot-site grenache, with a heaviness that isn’t countervailed by anything. It’s not a terrible wine, but it’s a fair bit more glue-like than I prefer. (6/12)

Crystal logic

Lafage 2008 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes “côté EST” (Roussillon) – 50% grenache (blanc I assume, though the label doesn’t specify), 30% chardonnay, 20% marsanne. Usually a reliable bargain wine, but performing very awkwardly from this bottle, showing pointed elbows of alcohol and jittery melon with sun-drenched lemons. Finishes white peppery. (5/10)

Sport Utility Drink

[vineyard]Lafage 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes “côté SUD” (Roussillon) – Boisterous fruitiness (large, wet berries), a touch of smoke, and the faintest whiff of something earthier, with a little cedary structure from minority partner cabernet sauvignon. Pure fun. (4/09)

Chocolate grenache

Lafage 2005 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes “Côté Grenache Noir” (Roussillon) – A huge burst of gum-flavored grenache-y fruit, as if the grape had been turned into that chewing gum with the liquid center (Bubble-Yum or something like that?). Very pleasant, very easy, very fun. Don’t look for more, because it ain’t there. (8/08)

Est therapy

Lafage 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes “Côté Est” (Roussillon) – I think this wine’s just nifty in a big, fluffy, dog-humping-your-leg sort of way. Big fruit (some stone, some tropical, some citrus), big heft, but nothing oppressive of unmanageable. Pure fun, as long as it doesn’t pee on your shoe. (8/08)

Go Est, young man

[vineyard]Lafage 2005 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Blanc “Côté Est” (Roussillon) – The more wines I taste from this catch-all appellation, the more I like them. What’s surprising is how much I enjoy the whites, which by all rights should be heavy and dull-witted given the general sun-drenchedness of the region. Yet somehow they show fine, rocky undertones (understones?) to admittedly simplistic stone fruit, sun-baked and slightly dried, and always with just enough of a touch of acidity. So it is here. This is very, very uncomplicated, but it’s quite tasty nonetheless. (10/07)