Domaine Lafage Tessellae Carignan, Cotes Catalans

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Carignan has had a rather tumultuous history in the south of France. Once seen as a necessary grape to spur the region’s recovery after the plague of phylloxera in the late 19th century, primarily for its ability to produce high yields, it has been largely replaced with “nobler” varieties such as Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. This is unfortunate – for as challenging as the variety is to love when the vines are young – they are superb with half a century under their belt. Jean-Marc Lafage luckily resisted the call to uproot and replace this variety, and he owns a Carignan vineyard of seventy-year-old vines on the hills between the villages of Maury and Tautavel.

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