Your Red Wine Life Is About To Get REAL!!!

Cotes Du Roussillon Is The Best Bang For The Buck

Most wine consumers when thinking about wines from France think of Bordeaux or Burgundy. Great Wines…. Poor Value. I have spoken about the southern French Wine Region of Languedoc-Roussillon in previous posts especially Corbieres. There is so much selection from these villages in the south and such great value that I wanted to pick something under $25 that would blow you away to make my point.

Michel Chapoutier is My Hero Of Roussillon 

Cotes Du Rousillon Map

The Roussillon history is complex and compelling, and has at times been quite violent. Terraces on stony soil, with a rich geological background and a climate that man has adopted for his crops. The Roussillon was bound to attract Michel Chapoutier’s attention. He decided to locate his domain at Latour de France. Black and brown Schist (Brown and Black Rocks that You Can Break off With your Hands) to give the wine a solar touch. Gneiss (Pronounced NICE) for minerality and freshness. Combination of Limestone and Chalk for strength and balance. Three varieties of grapes grow on the land covered by Domaine de BILA-HAUT. Syrah, with its savage aromas of earth and spice. Grenache, so full of surprises. And Carignan, for mineral wines with crispy tannic notes. The “Vignes de BILA-HAUT” and the “Domaine de BILA-HAUT Occultum Lapidem” are the main expressions of this terroir. OCCULTUM-LAPIDEM (translates to THE SECRET STONE) as in the Schist and Gneiss spoken about before. These are wines that don’t need any form of Mass Production type Manipulation by the Winemaker. The TERROIR Speaks to you from the Glass. If you look at the map above, this wine comes from Latour De France the home of the Domaine. 

The Wine, Tasting Notes And Review

Bila Haut Front

Bila Haut Back

As soon as I opened the bottle the Terroir was speaking to me. In the glass it was DARK AS NIGHT with tinges of purple. When you have been doing this for a long time like me and tasting so many wines over my career you just know right off the bat with one like this we are no longer in the “Family Get Together” or “Wine Down Wednesday ” type of category. We are talking SERIOUS stuff here. The Word INTENSE can’t be used enough describing this wine. Aromas and flavors of Intense Minerals, Blackberry Liqueur, Clay, Tar, Black Strap Licorice, Minerals, Graphite, Black Pepper Spice and a rich ,rich mouth feel on without ever being California or Australian in Style that it was a turn off. This is one of the deepest expressions of a specific Terroir and Vintage (2013) that I have tasted this year. Unless you know the person you offer a glass of this to is SERIOUS about wine, hide this where it can’t be found or drink it yourself with good food. This is not a Pizza Wine or a Burger Wine. This is the Big Chuck Roast or Dry Aged Beef or Cured Aged Cheeses but all in all you might not even want to share. You might need some “ME TIME” to drink this and focus. The minerality got more and more intense as the wine sat in the glass for an hour.  

Robert M Parker Jr

Wine Is Personal. Parker should stay out of any country but France. That is where his palate is usually spot on.  I thought I would share his tasting notes on this wine he reviewed from barrel and again 2 years later from the bottle:

Bila Haut Glass

Critical Acclaim


The Wine Advocate

A step up and an incredible effort, the 2013 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem is made from a mix of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan that comes from schist and chalky soils. A serious, classically styled effort, it offers awesome aromas and flavors (blackberry, mineral and licorice), full-bodied richness and fabulous concentration that never comes across as heavy or cumbersome. Showing additional minerality and definition with time in the glass, this beauty will have 10-15 years of longevity and should not be missed. 

The Summary


It happens to be on sale this month at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits for $22.94 and I realize that may be for some too much or for some very affordable. When you look at as I do the Quality To Price Ratio, I would pay $60 for a wine this amazing so $22.94 is value. I can see why Chapoutier was so taken back with the Cotes Du Roussillon and I think the Secret of the Occultum Lapidem (The Secret Stones) translates to one heck of a Wine for this price. Try it and I promise your Red Wine Life is about to get REAL!!

Grape-fully yours, Larry

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