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Two Excellent Blends from the South of France

Bila-Haute LabelIn the south of France, along and near the Mediterranean Coast, there is a huge wine making region in the Languedoc-Roussillon.  Here the weather is warmer, and they grow a wide variety of both white and red grapes.  The region extends from the Spanish border all the way to Provence, internationally recognized home of Rosé.  The more well known regions of France are further north, although the Southern Rhone Valley is not really all that far away.

A lot of wine is made here, millions upon millions of bottles.  Most is actually red, still and dry.  There is also white and Rosé, as well as sweet wines and even a few sparklers.  The vast majority falls into the Vin de Pays category, considered good, everyday table wine, and is labeled with the IGP designation (Indication Géographique Protégée).  The number one grape grown in the region is Syrah, but it is not by a wide margin.  You’ll find most of the international varietals represented.  It really is a region of variety.

Here we have two wines from Michel Chapoutier, who is well known for his wines from many appellations in the Rhone Valley.  Michel recognized an opportunity in the soil at his Domaine de Bila-Haut, the black and brown schist to capture the sun, with a combination of limestone and chalk to give strength and balance.

We have a red blend as well as a white blend to review.

2016 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Cotês-du-Roussillon Rouge – The wine is a dark reddish-purple.  A bright Bila-Haute 2nose of fruit highlights black cherry and blackberry.  There’s a nice and unusual hint of Dijon mustard as well.  This was strange and good.  The palate is all about the fruit, although at opening the tannins really make an appearance as well.  They mellow a bit with some time, and I would decant this for an hour before serving.  Once it opens, it is rich and long, full bodied and not shy at 14.5% alcohol.  Good acid keeps it balanced, fresh and vibrant.  Excellent quality at an SRP of $15.

2016 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Cotês-du-Roussillon Blanc – This wine has a rich nose of bright fruit, mostly tropical with apricot and pineapple.  A touch of anise sneaks in there as well.  The wine has nice structure, some body, good acid and really nice length.  This is not a simple, easy quaffer.  Think Verdejo.  Also a great value at $15, and a wine that brings a little more to the party than your average white.

Two wines from a heralded house, they are both worth buying.

A votre santé!

 

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