Domaine Vinci, Rafalot, 2015
Agley Valley, Roussillon, France
Nestled in the rugged Agly Valley, west of Perpignan, Domaine Vinci’s 6 hectares of old-vine vineyards are surrounded by forest and rocky outcrops. The wines are profoundly mineral, with complexity and finesse, and perfectly express the wild terroir of this corner of Roussillon in the Côtes Catalanes. Olivier Varichon and Emmanuelle Vinci organically farm six hectares of vineyards, with parcels so isolated that they need not worry about chemical products from neighbors’ vineyards contaminating the rocky soils their vines call home. These stunning sites, nestled at high altitudes amid scraggly garrigue and perilous outcrops, are planted with very old vines that give absurdly low yields. Due to the parcels’ remote locations and steep grades, everything is worked by hand. All of Vinci’s bottlings express profound concentration and minerality from the clay, limestone, granite, and schist of this corner of the Roussillon. The wines are a testament to the potential of the rugged terroir as well as the Vinci philosophy, and it is truly an honor to represent wines of such purity and vitality.
The 2015 Rafalot comes from a single hectare of limestone vineyard. This is Old Vine Carignan (100 year old vines) in the Côtes Catalanes. Hand harvested, whole clusters are crushed gently by foot. Natural fermentation in cement tank for 4 to 5 weeks. Aged in demi-muids and 12 year old barrels for 18 months, and then 6 months in stainless steel Unfined and unfiltered. No SO2 during vinification. Rich, dense and spicy, with ripe black-berried fruit balanced by firm, fine-grained tannins and warm leathery notes. Intense, silky and complex, with the kind of finesse that makes Domaine Vinci so exciting.