Les Vignes de Bila-Haut

Ok, i told my bro-in-law I’d get writing again, and what a nice topic this is: a Cotes du Roussillon Villages wine…I saw it at the Wine Discount Center on Elston, actually got an email from them here. This is, as the write-up mentions, a Top 100 wine this year…for $11.99!

     I decanted the bottle yesterday.  Like many French wines, it is a blend: Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan, the last being an old vine deignee. The first sip while eating a little ham and brie? A little too muscular, slight pepper, and even medicinal. extreme dark, obscuring coloration, heavy on the palate w/slight tannins.

     Doesn’t sound like I would like it, eh? Well i gave it an hour, and then tried it with beef, a better pairing as the first coupling was one of opportunity, while the second was by design. Mmmm. A convergence. The wine had relaxed, was much lighter on the palate (which is what I am looking for these days) while the pepper from the syrah was much more forward but in complete, absolute harmony with the other elements. This is a mouth filler without overstaying its welcome. Long finish… but round. Little tannins to speak of.

     Ok, you say that was by design, an intended result by the addition of the beef dish? No. I corked it overnight. Today around one I had lunch, and there was not a hint of difference after a day. Longevity- we like that in a wine. And according to the Spectator, this is just the beginning of Bila-Haut’s run. Drinkable 2010-2017. This, at this price? Get it by the case.

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two nice european wines

     A few weeks ago I tried and enjoyed la Vielle Ferme 2008, a Cote du Ventoux red; found it at  Just Grapes downtown Chicago for a reasonable $11.99. Yesterday, well yesterday I was in the Wine Discount Center on Elston and found the same vintage for $6.99! This is my find of the year, two months in. You will not find a better quality wine anywhere in the U.S. for that price. If you are in the area, stop buying that crap Barefoot stuff, spend a dollar more, and buy it by the case, what a great daily house wine. Another good deal there is the Olivares Altos de la Hoya 2008.  apparently it recieved a 91 rating by International Wine Cellar, and at $8.99 a bottle, also unbeatable- except by maybe the aforementioned French red. Finally, a bit of serendipity- the guy helping me decide (Rob) turns out to be a DLI alum, from 1970- a Chinese linguist who also worked for NSA!

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