Oddball Wine of the Week: Côte Est 2007 Catalan

This was just a random pickup at Whole Foods one day. The label design caught my eye, then I noticed the blend, then “Catalan” on the label. Wait, doesn’t Catalan refer to Spain… as in Catalonia? But this is French. That was interesting enough for me to plunk down my $11. I wasn’t sure when I bought it if I would use this for the Oddball series or not. “Catalan” was a new French appellation to me, but something made me think this might be more well-known than I thought. Then I looked it up in the Bible, I mean, the Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd edition) saw that there was no listing for it. That’s Oddball enough for me! I did finally find a one-sentence reference to it in the entry for Roussillon, by the way.

Côté Est 2007 Catalan

Producer: Maison Lafage

Grapes: 50% Grenache Blanc and Gris, 30% Chardonnay, 20% Marsanne

Appellation: Côtes Catalanes (Vin de Pays, France). This appellation is a region within Roussillon that sits on the other side of the Pyrenees from Catalonia, Spain. It’s a maritime terroir

Vineyards: The Grenache comes from 80-year old vines, the Chardonnay from 20 year old vines and the Marsanne from young vines. The name Côté Est refers to the fact that the vines are planted east-west, which they say keeps the grapes cooler, preserving the acidity and fruit.

Vintage: 2007

Winemaking: Stainless steel aging.

Alcohol: 13%

Price: I paid $10.88 at Whole Foods in Austin

My tasting notes: Really lovely nose on this wine, like a blend of pear and peach, highlighted by zesty orange and lime and floral notes. And the palate doesn’t disappoint either. More pear/peach and lime with a mineral streak. Really nice texture, too. Almost plush, though the fruit stays bright. Finishes clean and long.

Overall impression: I’m very glad I took a chance on this wine I knew absolutely nothing about. It’s a very enjoyable little bottle, and I’d definitely recommend you pick up if you see it. B+

Free association:

I can’t find the original source of this image. It’s all over the internet, but it’s not mine.

More info:

Imported by Eric Solomon.

Parker scored this 90 points.

Some reviews on CellarTracker and Corkd.

6 comments to Oddball Wine of the Week: Côte Est 2007 Catalan

  • Looks like the crowd on Corkd and Cellar Tracker agree with you. Good scores from just about everyone. This is a perfect example of the power of the masses. The great equalizer this interweb is!

    We really need a Whole Foods here in Spokane!


  • Man, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to find that one here in Lubbock, TX. Sounds like a pretty interesting one though. I know I say this every week, but I really enjoy this series. I love trying oddball wines, so this is always fun to read.

  • Jim/VINEgeek

    Josh – The Whole Foods here is the Flagship store (corporate HQ is right above it here in downtown Austin). So not your typical WF, but they have a nice wine section. Good variety, particularly in France, Germany, Italy – especially for a grocery store.

    Ben – Probably not, but keep your eyes open just in case. Thanks for the comments on the Oddball series. I enjoy doing it, though sometimes I’m not sure what people will consider oddball enough. Like I’ve got a Cahors in the cellar, which I’m sure a lot a people haven’t ever had, but I’m sure there are plenty who consider it a common French appellation. Or an old-vines Carignane from Chile. Carignane isn’t that odd I guess, but OLD VINES Carignane in CHILE? That seems odd to me. Thoughts?

  • Liz

    Love love love this wine. Always have it on hand at home – my husband likes it and it’s something almost everyone I’ve served it to enjoys. Very affordable too!

  • baz

    I’m not sure if it’s the extra age or what??? … but I found this wine extremely awkward and haven’t been able to find a critical fault about it online. I recognise it’s not widely known, but there have been many online reviews… perhaps after David’s 90 score and interesting pros? Actually, everyone’s review seems to be derivative. The combination of juice just doesn’t work for me… and despite a deep resume from the winemaker, I find this wine falling down in concept with a lackluster finish.

    • Jim/VINEgeek

      Baz – Could be the age, could be a bad bottle or could just be different palates. Did you try the 2007? The WA 90-pt review you refer to is for the 2010, right? I’ve only tried the 2007 (which incidentally has the highest average score of all vintages of this wine on CellarTracker).

      If this isn’t your cup of tea, Baz, what’s your go-to white in the $10-12 range?

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