"M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2016, Pays d'Oc IGP, France ($15) — This absolutely delicious rose from the Languedoc region in the south of France is from the M. Chapoutier family of wines. Chapoutier is one of the three or four finest producers in the Rhone Valley, but it applies the same care and respect to the wines they make elsewhere. This is a refreshing rose that exhibits aromas of strawberry and orange peel. The finish is bright and crisp, which is largely the appeal of dry rose in the warm summer months. Rating: 90."
Summer Supper: Cool Pasta Salad and Côtes du Rhône Refreshers
I chose to make Pasta with Roasted Vegetables, Tomatoes, and Basil, a recipe found in my copy of Bon Appetit: Outdoor Entertaining. What made this cool pasta salad even more tasty? Two delicious, well-priced wines from Côtes du Rhône: 2016 Ferraton Père & Fils, Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc and 2016 Ferraton Père & Fils, Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Rosé, both sent as samples. The refreshing pairing was just the way I love my summers to be!
"Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rosé 2016: Every year I look forward to the Rosé from Les Vignes de Bila-Haut. This wine is typical of what is produced in the Pays d’Oc region. A blend of primarily Grenache with Cinsault and Syrah, this wine is bright, fresh with aromas of roses while citrus, stone fruit and some tropical notes the palate give way some spicy undertones on the finish."
Nine Summer Wines to Enjoy this Season (Part Deux)
"Ferraton Père & Fils Côtes du Rhône 2016 Samorëns Blanc: The red label wine focuses on the traditional method of blending from various vineyards in the Rhône. A blend of Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Marsanne makes for a very fresh crisp wine with flavors of stone fruit, honey and hints of spice on the finish. The honey is attributed to the Viognier and although not the largest portion in this blend, its profile is more pronounced. This is a very refreshing wine."
2016 Bila-Haut Pays d'Oc Rosé featured by The WineKnitter
"The 2016 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc Rosé is a blend of 78% Grenache, 14% Cinsault and 8% Syrah. The color is a rich salmon with aromas of rose, peony and red berries with a whisper of orange. The palate is deliciously layered with juicy notes of strawberry, cherry and a hint of herbs. The finish offers lingering notes of citrus. This is a dry, refreshing, crisp wine that is beautifully balanced. Serve as an aperitif or with seafood, light pastas, cheese and fruit. Great value for the quality of this wine! "
2015 Urban Riesling earns 90 Points from Wine Enthusiast
Wine Enthusiast awarded 2015 Urban Riesling 90 Points and named it a "Best Buy."
"Smoky veins of struck flint and slate lend a savory mineral tone to this refreshingly tonic Riesling. Sweet-tart tangerine and grapefruit flavors are juxtaposed by bracing lime acidity, a racy melange that lingers for a long but invigorating finish."
2010 Agly Brothers gets 91 points from The Tasting Panel Magazine
The "brothers" are Michel Chapoutier and Aussie winemaker Ron Laughton, who collaborate along Roussillon's Agly River. Silky texture and ripe blackberry fruit; balanced and dense with a long finish. 33% Carignan, 33% Syrah, 33% Grenache.
"A fresh and juicy Riesling with an elegant character grown on the mineral rich slate soil in the steep slopes of the Mosel Valley. It is the perfect match with Asian dishes such as Indian curries, mildly spicy fish and poultry."
Topping off a summer of tastings with a rundown of the tops
Peter Zemmer - Pinot Grigio
"Like biting into a perfectly ripe apple, with satisfying fruit flavor, juicy texture and soft acidity. Don't be surprised by the spritzig (delicate bubbles) in the freshest bottles; it's a winemaking technique that lets wine dance across the palate for ultimate refreshment. There are cheaper pinot grigio's, but none better for this price."
Topping off a summer of tastings with a rundown of the tops
Il Bastardo Sangiovese di Toscana
"The funny label may draw you in, but you'll come back for the berry and spice flavor and pleasing tannin of this "Chianti, Junior." In summertime, serve cool to the palate with all al fresco meals, lighter pizza, pasta, poultry and meats. You don't have to be Italian to enjoy this great quality/ value red."
2014 St. Urbans-Hof Estate 'Old Vines' Riesling "100 Best Buys of 2016 - Wine & Spirits"
2014 St. Urbans-Hof Estate 'Old Vines' Riesling QbA is named one of the 100 Best Buys of 2016 in Wine & Spirits upcoming 30th Anniversary Buying Guide. This special edition is due to hit newsstands on October 11th.
"Nice mouthfeel. This wine has a bit of a zing to it. Buttery popcorn in the nose followed by lime on the palate. Definitely not a thin example of the varietal. Peter Zemmer runs the winery, which his grandfather started in 1928 in the 600-person village of Cortina. Tasting notes include this bold line: "This alpine Pinot Grigio offers a totally different experience from the insipid, flatland versions wine lovers are more accustomed to finding in the U.S." Brash, but true. This wine region sits in far northern Italy and is close to Austria and Switzerland."
The Drunken Cyclist gives 2014 Bila-Haut Rouge 89-91 Points
Jeff Kralik aka the Drunken Cyclist writes: "This wine, from the well-known RhÃ´ne producer, is wonderful. Good fruit on the nose and palate, but more in that reserved, old-world way. Fantastic balance and lengthy finish–a solid wine from top to bottom."
"Having a little fun with this wine. Ripe cherries, black raspberries, violets, spices, and pepper with a hint of jamminess to the fruit on the nose. Raspberries on the palate with a touch of ground beef and pepper. A bit tinny on the finish - a lot more tart on the finish than you’d expect from the attack."
Bila-Haut RI 2013 makes Jeb Dunnuck's Guide to the Best of 2015
"The Roussillon had a cool, late year in 2013 and the resulting wines show uncommon elegance and freshness paired with beautiful concentration. And while a relatively small region (well, when compared to the Languedoc anyways), there's incredible diversity in its terroirs. The two blockbuster Grenache releases from Calvet-Thunevin and Department 66 couldn't be more different from the more granite influenced Bila Haut RI Syrah."
Cindy Coe of Cinfully Simple gives a glowing review of Michel Chapoutier's Bila-Haut CÃ´tes du Roussillon Villages Rouge 2014.
"At a lower price point than many French wines (around $15), this deep, sultry smooth red blend with berry notes does not disappoint. With a hint of warm spice, it’s perfect to enjoy by itself sitting by a fire on a cold winter night or pair it with food. Believe it or not, we paired it with Western BBQ Chicken Pizza from Blackjack Pizza featuring KC Masterpeice BBQ Sauce, and it was amazing! That says a lot about a wine. "
''How Millennials Are Changing Wine'' - The Wall Street Journal
Lettie Teague of The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Millennials' taste in wine. One of the the wines tasted in a panel of the 18-34 year-olds, was St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger Alte Reben. "Although they liked the 2014 Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger Alte Reben ($17) from Mosel, it wasn’t a wine they’d ever think about buying because they didn’t know much about German wines."
Peter Zemmer's Pinot Grigio 2014 named ''Wine of the Day''
Fredric Koeppel, of Bigger Than Your Head, had nothing but kind words for Peter Zemmer's 2014 Pinot Grigio.
"The Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio 2014, Alto Adige-Sudtirol, is more attractive and offers more character than about 90 percent of the pinot grigio wines from northeastern Italy that I receive for review."
Kind words for Bila-Haut Rouge 2014 from A Wine Story.com
Marisa D'Vari at A Wine Story.com had sweet things to say about the 2014 CÃ´tes du Roussillon Villages Rouge from Bila-Haut.
"Happy to say that my perception about the wine matched its excellence – it was a wine with red and black fruit, delicious garrigue and wild herbs, 13.5 well balanced alcohol, racy acidity and tannins that were smooth and rustic at the same time.
It was an incredible wine, especially for the $15 price, and paired very well with steak and roasted salmon."
St. Urbans-Hof Estate Riesling QbA 2014 gets 89 Points from the Wine Enthusiast
"A brisk mineral edge adds elegance to buoyant tropical mango and pineapple flavors in this densely concentrated off-dry Riesling. It's lip-smackingly honeyed, but sharp citrus acidity keeps the palate vivacious and fresh. Effortlessly enjoyable with a long finish."
Urban Riesling 2014 earns 88 Points from Wine Enthusiast
"Blossomy perfume wafts throughout this squeaky fresh off-dry Riesling. Tart tangerine and punchy yellow peach and mango flavors are vibrant and crisp, resonating long on the finish. It's a straightforward yet balanced, fruity wine. Drink now."
2014 Urban Riesling receives praise from Cape Gazette (DE)
Next up Weingut St. Urbans–Hof, Nick Weis selection, Urban Riesling QbA 2014. You may remember, I wrote the 2013 last year. The new release is easy to locate, priced under $11. Weis, who is a minimalist and provides us with a more “natural look” does a great job with all his wine but this entry level 90 pt wine is my choice for table Riesling. Opens to a floral nose with smokey notes. Dry with a hint of sugar they are racy and show the slate/ stony finish, I enjoy. There are other complex offerings from St. Urbans-Hof that better define the “terroir” but they are also more expensive. Newbies to Mosel can’t go wrong starting here.
"This is no Wine Connoisseur Magazine kind of wine review! It’s not even a Reverse Wine Snob (whom I love) kind of review! This was a #RealWine4RealPeople kind of wine tasting/blind taste test with 100% every day people! What else would you expect from the #RealFood4RealPeople, girl?"
The Urban Riesling was declared "Sweet, smooth, yummy, fruity, light, clean, granny smith, great by itself"
Moving to France the next two are from Domaine de Bila-Haut where Rhone winemaker Michel Chapoutier owns this Roussillon Estate. Located very close the border of Spain, this estate sits on the slopes of the Agly Valley in the commune of Latour-de-France. Here the climate from the Mediterranean Sea and the Mistral wind influence the wine along with the soils, which are a mix of schist, gneiss and clay."
Bila-Haut Blanc named Wine Specator's "Daily Wine Pick" under $15
This white has a pretty profile of floral, peach and creamed melon flavors, with underlying spice and mineral elements. Nicely textured, featuring a juicy acidity that lifts the perfumed finish. Drink now. 10,000 cases made. —Gillian Sciaretta
The M. Chapoutier incentive trip for 2015 is well underway and everyone is having a great time. Stay tuned for pictures of this year's trip.
A great review and pairing for Bila-Haut Blanc & Rosé
"2014 Les Vignes de Bila Haut Blanc CÃ´tes du Roussillon — pale yellow in the glass with tart pineapple and melon aromas. On the palate minerals, citrus zest and delicate melon flavors combine with bright acidity and citrus pith on the finish."
D Magazine says Zemmer Pinot Grigio is "What To Drink Now"
"Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio is a spicy, concentrated wine with richness not often found in the variety. Concentrated from low yielding vines, fermented in stainless steel, but then left on the lees for a period of time to add texture to the wine, the result is lush and juicy with bright notes of citrus, orchard and stone fruit, with zesty acidity and a touch of creaminess on the end."
Examiner.com names 2014 Urban Riesling one of "Five wines to start off your summer"
"Looking for something different and unique in wine, the 2014 Nik Weis Selection Urban Riesling, Mosel is well worth the discovery. In its 3rd generation St. Urbans-Hof, the second largest family operated and owned winery in the Mosel dating back to 1947 created this wine. This Riesling is considered a non-estate wine. As Nik Weis states, “It is a true Mosel wine that represents the region by being honest, authentic with a true origin.” With it fruity aromas primarily pineapple, one will find a dry wine with hints of sweetness and spice on the finish. The blue slate soils and steep slopes of the Mosel Valley bring out the wine’s minerality. Beautifully crafted the wine is only 9.5 in alcohol."