Review: Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem By Michel Chapoutier 2014

We first wrote about winemaker Michel Chapoutier here on the site in relation to his efforts to place Braille on wine bottles. In 1993, when Chapoutier was only 29 and had been the main winemaker in the family business for only three years, he turned on the television to watch his friend and musician Gilbert Montagnin on the screen. Gilbert, who is blind, was talking about the experience of buying wine and was explaining on the program that he never felt comfortable going into a wine shop alone because he didn’t know which wines he was picking up. Therefore, in order for him to take part in the simple pleasure of buying wine, he’d always have to be accompanied by a friend who was able to describe the wines he was choosing. So Chapoutier decided then and there to place Braille on all of his bottles.

Taking such a forward thinking step has gained Chapoutier respect and admiration among many, but he also makes consistently great wine. Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem is a perfect example.

While Chapoutier has made a name for himself in the Rhône, he now makes wine in several regions of the world, including Languedoc-Roussillon, the southern French region that has become known for consistently dependable, delicious and affordable wines.

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In the glass the Bila-Haut pours a deep, dark red and emits aromas of dark black fruit, wet stones and earth, as well as leather. It’s made of primarily Syrah, blended with Grenache and Carignan. The result is a wine that is rich with fruit flavors, medium to strong tannins and a good dose of acidity. It’s a red that would be hard for anyone to not find appealing.

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Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem was provided to VinePair as a sample.