94 Point Bargain – Chapoutier Domaine de Bila Haut Occultum Lapidem (WA94, $24.95)

September 22, 2014 90+ Bargains  2 comments

Chapoutier Domaine de Bila Haut Occultum LapidemMichel Chapoutier is pretty much the man in northern Rhone.  His family winery makes some of northern Rhone’s top wines including a couple of $500+ Ermitage wines have racked up TONS of 100 point ratings.  But for $500, I guess they should!  You might say Chapoutier is becoming the man in all of the Rhone valley, because his Southern Rhone wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cotes du Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon are receiving tons of praise. That’s great for the consumer because Southern Rhone wines are becoming more and more popular and represent some of the best values in France and beyond.

Enter the 2012 Domaine de Bila Haut Occultum Lapidem from Southern Rhone’s Cotes du Roussillon Villages, a wine that has received some massive scores in the past and a huge 94 for this vintage.  This Syrah-based wine has a big nose of fennel and cherry, but on the palate is where it really shines.  It’s incredibly silky and viscous, a trait I’ve only seen in the very best Syrah (think Saxum), and rarely from France.  The wine is broad on the midpalate but shows its youth as it clenches down toward the end.  I’m confident that, as it ages, it will gain considerable length.

More on this later, but some of the very best values in the world come from the up-and-coming Languedoc-Roussillon appellation.  This is one of the very best from that region and is not to be missed.

Buy Here: Chapoutier Domaine de Bila Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages Occultum Lapidem $24.95

Wine Advocate 94 Points

“The 2012 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem offers dark, mineral-laced aromas and flavors of smoked earth, licorice, wild herbs and blackcurrants to go with a firm, structured and age-worthy profile on the palate. Comprised of mostly Syrah, from schist and gneiss soils, and aged in tank and demi-muid, this superb 2012 has solid mid-palate depth, ample tannin and a beautifully focused finish. It’s a superb value that will be even better in another year or so, and have 12-15 years of ultimate longevity.

Any project Michel Chapoutier is involved with seems to excel, and his Roussillon Bila Haut domaine is no exception. With vineyards around the villages of Latour de France and Lesquerde, this estate releases five reds; the entry level Les Vignes de Bila Haut, which comes from a number of vineyards (and is a screaming value); the L’Esquerde, mostly Syrah from the higher elevation, granite soils around the village of Lesquerde; the Occultum Lapidem, which is made from Syrah, Grenache and Carignan from around the village of Latour de France; and his two single vineyard releases, the VIT from Latour de France and the RI from Lesquerde. These last two get close to the pinnacle of Syrah, and will stand toe to toe with the greatest Syrahs from the northern Rhone and California. Unfortunately, they’re only produced in minuscule quantities, but don’t miss a chance to grab some if you can. While the 2011s are stronger than the 2012s, I was able to taste the 2012s twice, once last year, in October during my trip through the northern Rhone, and then again from bottle in January at the domaine in the Roussillon. They showed even better from bottle, and these ratings may be conservative as I think these wines will continue to improve. We started out with the Marius wines, which are value-priced and deliver solid character.”

2 comments to 94 Point Bargain – Chapoutier Domaine de Bila Haut Occultum Lapidem (WA94, $24.95)

  • steve says:

    WE ARE BACK!!

  • admin says:

    Yes we are!

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