Jean-Marc Lafage is an incredible wine maker, first, because his wines are SO good, and, second, because they offer extraordinary value. Let's start with the 2015 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes, a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache about which Rhône-wine guru Jeb Dunnuck wrote, “This wine is almost too good to be true…. [It] 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.” It should drink well through 2021 or beyond and sells for – hold on – as little as $12.95 a 750mL bottle (compared to some Sine Qua Non Syrahs that sell for as much as $700 a bottle). The 2016, also available, is not rated as highly. Get the 2015.
Up next, the 2015 Domaine Lafage Tessellae Old Vines Grenache [50%] Syrah [40%] Mourvedre [10%], known colloquially as GSM, indicating a typical blend from Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, and Vacqueyras in the Southern Rhône Valley. Jeb Dunnuck rates this beauty 93 points (which means it should be fabulous!) and, according to his description, it is: “A ripe, expansive, full-bodied and undeniably sexy red that has beautiful notes of kirsch liqueur, blueberries, pepper and violets, it has ripe and present tannin, straight-up fabulous purity, and a great finish. This is another one of those wines where you just have to tell yourself you spent more than you actually did. The wine really is this good.” Although the 2016 and 2017 are also available, reviews I’ve seen suggest neither is as good or as inexpensive as the 2015, which should drink well through 2022. At Wine Library (where free shipping for a year costs $99), the price is a mere $11.50/750mL bottle. (You don’t get much merer than that!)