Hello friends. Time for an annual early-summer tradition: an offer of Chapoutier’s trio (white, pink, red) of entry-level wines from southwest France. Two quick notes: 1) For the Blanc, the winery is still on the 2014 vintage we offered last year, so that one is a reoffer. 2) I’m also going to append a reoffer for Bila-Haut’s higher-end Occultum Lapidem at the bottom of today’s offer. It’s last call for what has been a VERY popular vintage among our list members.
And then a few reminders on the Bila-Haut project before we dig into the wines: first off, Languedoc-Roussillon is a region that has for some time exported massive quantities of forgettable plonk, but has in recent years begun to develop a reputation as a fine source of French value. At the vanguard of the quality movement: Michel Chapoutier, he of the multiple 100pt (Robert Parker) wines from the northern Rhone. I’ll reprint the excerpt:
Raised in cement and clocking in at 14% listed alc, this 2014 vintage offers a deep savory nose, with loads of olive and caper-berry and earth notes to go with a core of brambly blackberry fruit. There’s a wildness to the nose, a sense of the sauvage, as the French would say, that is really appealing. All told, this is one complex, killer nose for a sub-$15 tag. The palate, too, is very impressive for the price. Especially the texture, which is pillowy, offering a seamless glide-path for all that briny/meaty goodness. It’s polished, classy juice, pretty much the furthest thing from the rustic Carignan bombs that built much of Roussillon’s (dicey) reputation.
Wine Spectator (Gillian Sciaretta): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 90pts.” [Note: this wine has only ever earned 90pt reviews in two other vintages – 2008 and 2010 – and both went on to places in Wine Spectator’s year-end Top 100 list. Just sayin’.]
And here are excerpts from the original: Chapoutier makes a series of wines from the Roussillon, and Occultum Lapidem is essentially a reserve wine, coming from his best Roussillon vineyards, on gneiss and schist and Kimmeridgian limestone. The blend is typically about 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Carignan, and this vintage presents a wow nose wild in its complexity, with flowers and red raspberry fruit, sea salt and smoked sausage. The aromas go on and on, and they do so right on pop-and-pour. No need to age or decant endlessly; this beauty is ready right now. The pillowy soft texture, the mix of wild fruit and savories, the lingering salinity and sanguine minerality on the finish: this really delivers the goods, and I’m not surprised at all that Dunnuck was so gaga for it.
First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.