M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon Villages les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2009
The Chapoutier family have been making wine in the Rhône Valley since 1808, but it is since 1990 when Michel Chapoutier came to the helm that the wines really began to speak of their origin. Michel Chapoutier’s viticultural vision is highly impressive. His dedication to understanding each parcel of land and allowing it to make the best natural wine it can is breathtaking. He has worked tirelessly to improve every practice in his company investing in his staff as well as in the winery and vineyard - much of his estate is now farmed biodynamically. Indeed he has also created dynamic projects outside of the Rhône, examples of which can be found here from Roussillon, where he sought old vines and Australia, where his particular interest was the soil. This entire range is the fruit of extensive research and Michel Chapoutier’s labour.The vineyards of the Roussillon were planted in the 11th Century by Greek mariners. Situated around the south western penisular of the French coastline, the Roussillon can be geographically segmented into 4 zones: Corbières, Albères, Canigou and the Mediterranean sea . Within these zones the geological diversity encompassing clay, limestone, schiste ( brown and black ) and gneiss based soils is largely due to the glacial remains originating from the Pyrénées. Moreover, the 3 rivers which traverse the region; L'Agly, Le Têt and Le Tech have over time formed wonderful terraced slopes on poor pebbly soil which offer wonderful terrain to grow vines on.The climate, as ever, also plays an important role in the adaptation of the vineyards to the regions' terroir. A cool winter and very hot summers with many sunshine hours and little rain combined with cooling on shore breezes which, at times, can be particularly strong yet effective in drying out dampened vines, provide favourable growing conditions to produce fully ripe and mature grapes. The ' Bila Haut' displays a garnet-red colour, very steady, deep and brilliant with purple light . On the nose it has open, expressive and complex with aromas of very ripe black fruit (elderberry, blackberry), some spicy scents (pepper, garrigue). A great attack, tight but silky tannins as well as a dominance of spicy scents, a lot of richness, a good lenght and very ethereal final. Superb with game and truffle .Robert Parker awards this 96-98 points and says of it "The 2007 Cotes du Roussillon Visitare Interiore Terrae is utterly compelling. Made from the same blend, the greatness of this vintage is confirmed in this beautiful 2007. It boasts a saturated ruby/purple color as well as an extraordinary bouquet of smoked duck, roasted Provencal herbs, black cherry liqueur, cassis, licorice, and truffle. Incredible density, a voluptuous texture, and remarkable concentration mark this fresh, lively, mouthfilling wine that should age effortlessly for 20-25 years."
The name CHAPOUTIER is present in the Rhône Valley since 1808. In 1879, the distant ancestor Polydor CHAPOUTIER was the first to begin to buy vines, thus moving from the status of wine-grower of an estate to that of a viticulturist, a wine producer and a businessman. The pioneering spirit was already present in the family.