M. Chapoutier Bila Haut Occultum Lapidem 2018
|Region||France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Cotes de Roussillon|
This wine is initially quiet and reserved, with light blackberry paste and black-cherry tones that are spiced by hints of dark chocolate, licorice and turned earth. The palate boasts a firm, tannic structure and bright acidity, with flavors of tobacco, chocolate, black plum and blackberry. Herbal and spicy root overtones linger on the close.
This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan from 60 year old vines in Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France, Languedoc-Roussillon, France. Each variety is fermented using native yeast in cement vats. Racking replaces filtration to clarify the wine and aging takes place in a combination of cement tank and 600-liter wooden demi-muids.The wine is aged half in cement tanks and half in oak casks.
The complexity of Bila-Haut reflects the diverse terroirs and the wind of the Midi. By meticulously hand harvesting the best grapes from the best vineyards of the Roussillon, a well known Rhone producer has transformed his magic to the Languedoc and created a wine with finesse.
Occultum Lapidem means “Hidden Gem” in Latin, and this blend from the Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France region certainly fits the bill — although that may not be the case now that the word is out! The Cotes du Roussillon region is set up similarly to the Cotes du Rhone, in that wines that bear the Cotes du Roussillon Villages name are generally of a higher quality than the more generic Cotes du Roussillon label. Taking that one step further, there are also four villages (Caramany, Latour de France, Lesquerde and Tautavel) that have the right to also attach their name to the title, due to the even higher quality of wine produced there which is the case with this Latour de France bottling.
Terrific, with lots of cassis, jammy blackberries, crushed rocks, and pepper notes, the 2018 Cotes Du Roussillon Villages Latour De France Occultum Lapidem is medium to full-bodied, has wonderful purity of fruit, no hard edges, and a great finish.