£12.99–£13.95, Urban Grapes, Alteus Wine, Gourmet Hunters, Simply Wines Direct, All About Wine
I tasted this Roussillon rosé for the second part of my Summer Rosé Round Up (coming up soon, click for Part 1 in the meantime), but was so taken with it that I'm putting the spotlight on it here first.
The very pale colour gives it the look of a typical Provence rosé (as does the chic bottle), but it's more aromatic than many of its Provence counterparts, with Mediterranean herbs, sweet red berries, orange and apricot giving arresting perfume and fruit. With four months' lees ageing, it has a creamy, silky texture and the palate closes refreshingly on a lingering, lightly briny, mineral note.
The delicate colour comes from gentle direct pressing of the 30% Grenache Gris (rather than maceration with skins) from vines with an average age of 75 years. The Grenache Blanc vines (20%) are the same age. The other half of the blend is Mourvèdre – making it akin to a Bandol rosé – from vines averaging 25 years old. The soils are very stony with the distinctive large flat pebbles known as galets roulés and, as in Bandol, the vineyards lie close to the Mediterranean, although Domaine Lafage's 350 hectares of vines spread right across French Catalonia in a patchwork of plots from the coast to the foothills of the Pyrenees.
The size of the estate is impressive, but more impressive is what Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage have achieved in the 20 years since they took over the family vineyards and started making wines and nurturing the ecosystems and biodiversity of the land. Whenever I've tasted any of the wines, they've been noteworthy, most recently the white Centenaire 2020 (95-100-year-old Grenache Blanc and Gris with 20% Roussanne). They're also very good value.
Miraflors rosé is such a great aperitif, you might not get to the food stage with it, but I'd take it to the table for salads containing fish, prosciutto or cheese (but beware over-sharp vinaigrettes), savoury tarts, poached salmon, barbecued lamb, brie and camembert-type cheeses (not too strong) and lightly spiced summer dishes. 12.5%
Domaine Lafage Miraflors Rosé 2020, Côtes Catalanes, Roussillon, France
£12.99, Urban Grapes; £13.95, Alteus Wines; £10.23 (+ £5.91 delivery on 1–6 bottles), Gourmet Hunters; £65.94 for 6 (+ £7.99 delivery), Simply Wines Direct; £69.54 for 6 (+ £7.45 delivery), All About Wine