550 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 4 JULY 2019
is derived directly from the earth in which the grapes are grown. The 2016
Chardonnay displays lovely tropical fruit and a creamy texture that is balanced
by a vibrant acidity. You can enjoy the current vintage with grilled
halibut or swordfish. If the 2017 vintage has arrived by the time you visit
the wine store, you can probably count on similar quality.
When we think of the wines from the Rhône Valley, usually its famous red
wines come to mind. But there are also terrific white wines that come from
this part of France, generally made from a blend of Marsanne, Roussanne,
Viognier and white Grenache. The best-known whites come from Hermitage
(where Marsanne is the preferred grape), Châteauneuf-du-Pape
(where Roussanne is dominant) and Condrieu (where Viognier is the star).
The white wines from the Rhône tend to be full-bodied, rich and flavourful.
In a moment of weakness at a tasting of the wines of Michel Chapoutier
three years ago, we decided to splurge on a small case of 2013 De L’Orée
from Hermitage, not just because someone had awarded it 100 points, but
because it is unique. We polished off the final bottle with our wives at
Bishop’s not long ago. It had a wonderful golden hue and was full of ripe
pear, apricot and floral notes and flavours. This is a cellar-worthy, complex
wine that can be obtained for about $260 per bottle.
The 2017 Domaine Lafage Centenaire, SKU 570390, $24, was such a great
find that we were reluctant to include it here for fear that you might buy all
that is remaining at BC Liquor Stores. It is not a Rhône wine—it is from the
Côtes du Roussillon—but it is made from typical Rhône varietals: Roussanne,
Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris. The Grenache is gathered from
100-year-old vines and comprises eighty per cent of this delicious blend. It
may not have the depth and complexity of the L’Orée, but at one-tenth the
price it provides great drinking pleasure and much, much more than onetenth
the quality of its “high” counterpart. The balance that is achieved in
this wine comes from harvesting the grapes in two stages, the first when
they are just ripened and still quite high in acidity, and the second when
they are fully ripened and packed with natural sugar. The influence of the
Mediterranean Sea imparts a crisp minerality to the wine that beautifully
complements its melon and peach fruit. This is but one example of the
excellent and reasonably priced wines being produced by Jean-Marc Lafage.
At the risk of going off topic, we recommend that when you pick up this