Fine Wine Source Wine


September 2018

Domaine Lafage:

Domaine Lafage is a leading estate in the Roussillon region in France. Winemaker Jean-Marc Lafage is one of Europe’s most highly regarded winemakers and has worked as a consultant in multiple countries. The domaine makes dry wines of all hues under the Côtes du Roussillon AOC along with sweet Maury, Rivesaltes, and Muscat de Rivesaltes wines. In recent years, various wines in the portfolio have received strong marks from Robert Parker in the Wine Advocate. Prices are very modest for the level of acclaim and therefore the wines have become highly sought-after. In fact, Parker called the 2011 Kerbuccio, a Syrah/Grenache/ Mourvèdre blend “one of the top wine values I have ever tasted”. 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 very close to the Mediterranean, while others can be found in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Benefiting from a warm, dry climate, the estate is farmed organically. They grow primarily Grenache (Blanc, Gris & Noir), Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay with a significant proportion of the vines well over 50 years old. The soil is weathered, alluvial gravel, while in the higher elevation sites it is predominantly schist. They harvest by hand and the winemaking approach is minimalist, with stainless steel, concrete, and small amounts of French oak, and demi-muids. The Lafage cellars are located just outside Perpignan, though it has also has vineyards at Les Aspres and Agly. Domaine Lafage has around 160 hectares (400 acres) of vineyards with vines that are as much as 100 years old. For well over a decade Eric Solomon has worked with Jean-Marc Lafage at his estate in the Roussillon, and across the border in Spain where he consults on several projects.

About:

The Bastide Miraflors is a custom cuvée for Eric Solomon’s European Cellars and a joint project with Jean-Marc Lafage. Bastide Miraflors is a cuvée created from Grenache grown on rocky, alluvial clay soils resembling those of the Rhône Valley combined with Syrah grown on schist in the village of Maury. After a long maceration of six weeks the wine ages for 12 months in concrete (Grenache) and 600L French oak demi-muids (Syrah).

Varietal:

70% Syrah & 30% Vielles Vignes (Old Vine) Grenache.

Alcohol:

14.5%

Tasting Notes (from Robert Parker):

“This wine is almost too good to be true. A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was brought up in concrete tanks (Grenache) and demi-muids (Syrah), the 2015 Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes reminded me of a mini Syrah from California’s Manfred Krankl (yes I just compared a $14 Syrah to Sine Qua Non). It’s a ripe, sexy, heady beauty that exhibits a deep, purple color as well as killer notes of smoked meats, chocolate, blackberry and black raspberries. Deep, unctuous, open knit and layered, it continues to change in the glass, has a seamless and silky profile, and not a hard edge to be found. It’s a sensational value that needs to be tasted to be believed. Drink it anytime over the coming 2-4 years.”

Food Pairings:

Think early fall comfort foods: Savory sage meatloaf, lasagna, Rosemary herbed potatoes, BBQ/smoked pork loin, country style spare ribs.

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

The best Syrah based wine you can buy for the money! Rich, yet elegant, on the palate with a silky and satisfying finish…WOW, what a wine!!!

Fine Wine Source Wine


September 2018

Midnight Cellars:

Midnight Cellars is home to the Hartenberger family and their small production of award-winning Paso Robles wines. The 28 acre estate vineyard is situated in the newly established Willow Creek District, known for its strong marine influence, mountainous landscape, and calcareous soils. This climate, topography, and soil composition create an environment for growing quality, low-yield, sustainably farmed grapes. Planted on south facing slopes are Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec and terraced is eight acres of Zinfandel and a five acre lot of Chardonnay. The Midnight adventure began on a family vacation to Northern California. As father and son were sipping wine and overlooking a beautiful valley, the casual comment was made: “Hey Dad, you should buy a winery when you retire, and we’ll run it for you!” As fate would have it two years later, when Dad’s retirement became a reality, the winery idea resurfaced. The family sold their Chicago homes and converged on Paso Robles where they started their dream venture, Midnight Cellars Winery. In 1995 they purchased their 160 acre ranch in Paso Robles, which is now home to three generations of the Hartenberger Family. Midnight Cellars was the 29th established winery in Paso Robles. This area, also known as the Templeton Gap, has warm days and cool maritime influenced nights, making it a prime growing location. The vineyard is planted on hillside and hilltop in shale and limestone-rich soil. The southwest sloping hills face the Pacific Ocean, influencing a temperature swing of 40-50 degrees from daytime to nighttime.

About:

Although 2014 was another consecutive drought year for Paso Robles, this vintage resulted in fruit with powerful concentration and extra intensity. A dry and mild winter led to early patterns of flowering, veraison, and harvest, while the summer was mildly warm, with no extreme spike in heat. This vintage will lead to vibrant wines that will taste great young, but will continue to stay bold and balanced as they age. This is a very special Wine Club offer, only 765 cases were produced and Nebula was selling for almost $50 on Midnight’s website with a global average retail price of $43. We guarantee each Wine Club Member the allotted bottle; however, the remaining inventory will not last long!

Varietals:

90% Cabernet Sauvignon & 10% Merlot Aged 18 months in French Oak Barrels

Alcohol:

15.9%

Tasting Notes:

Rich aromatic notes of black cherry, raspberry, and anise rise from the glass. The first sip leads to complimentary flavors of spice and vanilla with full bodied black cherry fruit, berry, spice, leather, vanilla, and well balanced tannins.

Food Pairings:

Great wine for the tailgate or end of summer backyard party; grab nicest, best marbled, juiciest, Porterhouse or Rib-eye you can find and fire up the grill for one last Summer BBQ and enjoy the Nebula!

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:

Rich, intense, and loaded with layers of complexity, flavor, and a long lingering finish. Best served with tasty red meats broiled or on the BBQ.