[This bottle was provided as a sample for review purposes.]I have been drinking this particular wine for four vintages now, seeking it out as soon as the new annual offering hit the shelves. It’s one of my favourite widely available wines, and I still have fond memories of the 2010 release, which I purchased repeatedly and brought over to many a dinner. Well, this 2013 is even better, the best Bila-Haut yet, and has the chance to be something special.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Bila-Haut is the Roussillon-based domaine of Michel Chapoutier, renowned winemaker of France’s Rhone valley (and one of the only producers to put braille on all of his labels). Chapoutier is a legend in the Rhone, where his wines range from solid value examples of key regions to the absolute pinnacle that the valley has to offer, but it was only relatively recently, in 1999, that he expanded his empire to the very southern tip of France and acquired this estate in Roussillon. More specifically, Bila-Haut is in a designated quality subregion of Roussillon that bears the longest appellation name I have ever seen: Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France. Add “Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem” to the front of that and you get a very awkward wine label — and a lot of braille. Read the rest of this entry »