Rich, structured, tight (like a G-string, says Michel Chapoutier...)
“I was particularly impressed to discover a great diversity of geology and pedology in the Roussillon. The secret here is the coexistence of high quality entry level wines and pockets of rare excellence”
Michel Chapoutier needs little introduction as one of the greatest winemakers in the Rhone however, few know of Domaine Bila-Haut, Michel’s Roussillon property which he purchased in 2000. He purchased land in the village of Latour de France, known for its stony soil terraces and rich geological background. Here, incredibly old vines with low yields deliver minerality and complexity for Carignan, Grenache and Syrah vines. The white from the Domaine is the product of north-facing slopes, granite and calcareous soils, and a blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Macabeo grapes. The red wine comes from vines high above the Agly Valley where soils are composed of gneiss and schist from the Devonian period. Hand-harvested Carignan, Grenache and Syrah grapes reveal a well structured, warm wine very much in the spirit of the Roussillon.
Today, these wines have gained serious recognition and several of Michel’s recent vintages have received scores of 97-100 from Jeb Dunnuck (eRobertParker.com). Jeb launched "The Rhône Report" publication and website in 2008 and began releasing a quarterly newsletter reviewing Rhône variety wines from around the world before writing full-time for Robert Parker...
We are hoping to offer Domaine Bila-Haut 2016 later this year, which have quite frankly received some extraordinary reviews...Until then, we are delighted to offer some incredible wines which have been shipped directly from the Domaine
Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc 2015
Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com)
I continue to be blown away by the quality coming from Domaine de la Bila Haut, which is run with the Chapoutier team. They’ve continued to grow these Roussillon releases, and even at the entry-level price point, the quality is stunning. The straight Les Vignes de Bila Haut is a no-brainer purchase.” Possessing fabulous notes of citrus rind, white flowers and distinct minerality, this beauty hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, bright acidity and a mineral-laced finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. An absolute steel to boot!
£9.75 per bottle
Domaine de Bila Haut Haut Cotes de Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem 2014
92 points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com)
Another terrific vintage for this cuvee, the Syrah and Grenache-dominated 2014 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem was harvested between the 12th of September and the 3rd of October with miniscule yields of 28 hectoliters per hectare. Completely destemmed and aged all in concrete tanks, its ruby opaque color is followed by complex notes of garrigue, leather, plums and violets. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and layered, with a great texture, this fruit-forward, balanced Roussillon is already hard to resist, but will continue drinking nicely for 6-7 years.
£16.00 per bottle
Chapoutier Cote Du Roussillon Bila Haut Vit 2012
95 points - Jeb Dunnock (eRobertParker.com)
Starting off the single vineyard efforts, the 2012 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Visitare Interiore Terrae (VIT) is a blend of mostly Syrah, with a small portion of Grenache, that comes from the schist soils around the town of Latour de France. It’s unfortunate that there are only 180 cases of this beauty to go around, as it offers a singular profile. Inky purple in color, with awesome black raspberry, liquid minerality, smoke and violets, it flows onto the palate with full-bodied richness, laser-like focus and superb concentration. Fleshing out with time in the glass, it should benefit from short-term cellaring and have upwards of two decades of longevity.
£33.50 per bottle
Domaine de Bila Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde Rectificando Invenies (RI) 2014
95-97 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com)
The 2014 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde Rectificando Invenies (RI) will easily be in the top handful of wines in the vintage. All Syrah that will see 26 months in 60% demi-muids, it has massive minerality, thrilling purity of fruit, full-bodied richness and a tight, focused tannin structure that will no doubt benefit from short-term cellaring. My note finished with “filtered through rocks,” so if you like a little minerality in your Syrah, this beauty’s for you. There are roughly 200 cases of this to go around, but it’s a brilliant wine.
£48.95 per bottle
From Hermitage to Saint-Joseph, Condrieu to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, each parcel of land delivers the ﬁnest fruit expression of the appellation, and is treated with rigorous biodynamic principles to ensure that good grapes become memorable wine.
So strong is Michel’s commitment to treat the terroir with respect that Chapoutier now owns the largest biodynamic vineyard in Europe. It is his personal conviction that “the complexity in a wine comes from the level of microbiological activity around the vine roots”.
Soils on the Chapoutier estate never see pesticides or herbicides, ﬂoral growth amongst the vines is essential, and the natural cycles of earth, sun and moon are also considered, as vines respond to these. A consistent approach is crucial. This is particularly noted in the top wines produced in limited quantity each year from outstanding individual vineyard sites; Sélections Parcellaires.
We will be offering a larger selection of the 2015 & 2016’s however, we have cherry-picked some absolute gems from Michel’s Sélections Parcellaires
Chapoutier Saint Joseph Rouge Les Clos 2014
94-97 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (eRobertParker.com)
More focused and delineated than the Les Granits release, the 2014 Saint Joseph le Clos comes from a mostly east-facing parcel that’s located high up on the slope. Surprisingly, it’s an early ripening parcel that’s harvest in mid-September in most vintages. Crème de cassis, liquid rock, graphite and violets characteristics all flow to a full-bodied, structures and layered Saint Joseph that has uncommon density, concentration and depth. It will have two decades of longevity.
£70.00 per bottle
Chapoutier Ermitage Le Meal Blanc 2014
97 Points - Jeb Dunnock (eRobertParker.com)
Similar in style to the hedonistically-styled Cuvee de l’Orée (especially when compared to the structured, mineral-laced l’Ermite), the 2014 Ermitage le Méal Blanc (aged in 10% new demi-muids) offers layers of celery seed, brioche, caramelized pineapple and citrus oil on the nose. Thick, rich, voluptuous and full bodied with a massive finish, drink this sensational white anytime over the coming two to three decades.
£110.00 per bottle
Chapoutier Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree Blanc 2011
99 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com)
Even better and always one of the top whites in any given vintage, the 2011 Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree (first produced in 1991) comes from 80+-year-old Marsanne vines planted in the Les Murets lieu-dit. Gorgeously full-bodied and impeccably put together on the palate, with awesome texture and richness that’s framed by vibrant acidity, it boasts off the hook aromas and flavors of flower oil, buttered citrus, dried pineapple and powdered rock. It will be even better in another year, and age pretty much forever. As I’ve said before though, there is no harm in drinking these beauties in their youth.
£110.00 per bottle