2014 Domaine Lafage "Tessellae" Carignan Côtes Catalanes Vieilles Vignes (Elsewhere $15)

SKU #1271166 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A crazy value, the 2014 IGP Cotes Catalanes Tessellae Carignan Vieilles Vignes is one of the best examples of this variety from the Roussillon, and the fact that it sells for a song is just icing on the cake for the consumer. Coming all from schist soils and 70-year-old vines, raised 12 months in a mix of concrete tanks and demi-muids, it offers tons of black raspberry and black cherry fruit, licorice and dried spices to go with a super sexy, heady, seamless style on the palate that keeps you coming back to the glass. Drink this blockbuster over the coming 2-3 years. I’ve raved time and time again about the quality - and value - coming from Domaine Lafage’s Jean-Marc Lafage. A large estate that pulls from vines in the Agly Valley, the Aspres region, and vines around the estate and close the Mediterranean Sea, they’ve just completed work on a new, state of the art winery and cellar. I can only imagine the quality will continue to soar at this estate. (JD)  (4/2016)

K&L Notes

This 100% Old Vine Carignan is one of our most anticipated wines this year. It hails from top value producer Jean Marc Lafage who is the master of over delivering for dollars paid. The 2012 and 2013 Carignans were two of our most popular reds from their respective years. The 2014 gets the hat trick, maintaining that remarkable consistency. The 2014 Carignan Vieilles Vignes has classic varietal notes with rich berry fruit, spice and mineral complexity. Once again, the Lafages nail it! (Keith Mabry, French Regional Buyer)

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By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/4/2019 | Send Email
Oh darn, I had to work Sunday and missed the Super Bowl! ... not that I would have tuned in anyway, as everyone who wasted four unretrievable hours of their precious life agreed that it was about as enthralling as watching beach sand. Besides, while they were suffering I did one up and uncorked a bottle of the 2014 Lafage Old Vine Carignan, a wine that, unlike certain quarterbacks, scored on every down and still has a promising future. No rookie lightweight, this savory Roussillon red has developed into a full-bodied, aromatic and stalwart player, one that would do battle with the richest cassoulet and emerge victorious. Advice to next year's fans: Keep Calm and Carignan!

By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/4/2019 | Send Email
We're always touting the accomplishments of Jean Marc Lafage's wines and this old vine Carignan still ranks as one of my favorites of his releases. This 2014 is sort of a reissue. It was a monster success when we sent it out initially, almost two years ago. Well, our supplier found some of this stellar 2014 lingering in their warehouse. A little back-and-forth over pricing and we have one of the biggest KNOCK-OUT BUYS of this year, or any year for that matter. The 2014 "Tessellae" Carignan is all old vine fruit. It has rich black raspberry notes with hints of garrigue and hibiscus on the nose. Layers of spiced plum on the palate and oolong tea rounds out the finish. Not "over the top" per se but generous and open. A couple of years now in bottle has done nothing but open this wine for your immediate drinking pleasure. Though we took everything that was offered, we know it won't be enough for all those thirsty fans who will be clamoring for cases of this Best Buy.

By: William Beare | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/3/2019 | Send Email
A fabulous display off what Carignan can be, on the rare occasion when it is given the lead in a wine production. It's a delicate grape to grow, and requires ideal ripeness to shine. I'm trying this wine for the first time now, five years after release -- but based on the previous reviews of my colleagues I can say that this wine is evolving wonderfully, toning down some of the more high-octane fruit in a trade-off for more savory, refined characteristics. There are some delicately floral notes on the nose, but this is still a powerful wine, with rich, spicy fruit, and a superbly dry finish that is picking up traces of dusty leather and cocoa. Drink now...and often!

By: Thomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/3/2017 | Send Email
Don't wear a hat when drinking this one. Raspberry, plum, and sour cherries with just a touch of garrigue. On the palate, the acidity just grabs on and takes you for a ride. Backed up with just a whisper of accessible tannin, this is a high-octane thrill of a wine. Soaring red fruit all over the place. A citrusy and warm finish leaves you huffing and puffing, asking, "What the heck just happened?". This is a big, intense, and powerful wine, and one that's unbelievable for the price.

By: Brian Allie | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/9/2016 | Send Email
Wow - talk about bang for your buck! This incredible old vine wine starts with a vibrant and spicy nose. Flavors of blackberries, cherries and dark chocolate are accentuated by lovely herbal notes. I specifically enjoyed the velvety texture of this wine. Great to drink now or lay down for a few years. Highly recommended - enjoy!

By: Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/9/2016 | Send Email
This is one of the best values out there in the wine world right now, and sure enough it comes from the south of France, on the Cotes Catalanes. It has incredible power and finesse, with loads of very pure, dark fruit like blackberry and boysenberry, with great concentration and powerful structure from the 70-year-old vines. The wonderful purity of fruit and terroir are on full display with notes of cloves, anise, wildflowers and cocoa, followed a long, raspberry-tinged finished. Very delicious, complex and well-priced!
Top Value!

By: Daniel Maas | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/9/2016 | Send Email
You know, those pattern-heavy images where you can make out the hidden subject if you relax your eyes? The other night, I found myself staring at a similar pattern: the label of this very aptly named wine from the great Domaine Lafage with its hypnotic colors and flavors. Yes - the "Tessellae" is back, and with it comes its sexy structure of blackberry, fig, licorice, and black pepper. This wine is so approachable that you'll quickly find yourself, like I did, into a second bottle, staring at the label, relaxing both your eyes and your palate in search of what's hidden underneath. The more you allow the flavors to unveil themselves, the more impressive that impression becomes. Much like those eye-puzzles, the Tessellae has tremendous hidden depth.

By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/9/2016 | Send Email
This is the $10-$15 red that you drink cases of each winter and ends up being your favorite wine of the season. After reading the reviews, I thought this vintage of Tessallae would be too over the top for me, but the fruit is incredibly balanced and restrained compared to what I expected. There's a lovely plushness to the red berries and the acidity helps preserve that union of fruit and refreshment. Carignan isn't a grape most drinkers are familiar with, but if you like standard Cotes du Rhone wines or French bistro-style drinkers, this is a can't miss bottle. You buy this by the case.

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Rhone Blends



- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.