M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays D’Oc Rosé 2017

Medium copper color; strawberry, pear on the delicate nose; light strawberry, cherry, melon, pear on the palate.

M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays D’Oc Rosé 2017

Dry; very discrete in the mouth, you yearn for more fruit, but this definitely steers to the faint side and simple side of wine. Blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah. Lightness dominates my impression of this effort—perfect for those who yearn for non-assertive wines— this definitely fills that bill. Some minerality and acidity, seemingly no oak influence or malolactic fermentation. Possibly made in concrete tanks, although website does not address the issue. This is a winner for those who prefer their wines to be background music rather than an assertive element of the dinner drama.

The grenache comes from 70-plus-year-old vines grown in the garrigue (mix of juniper, thyme, rosemary, lavender) scrubland on limestone hills of the Mediterranean coast. The syrah grows on limestone and clay soils and schist-based land. Winemaker/owner Michael Chapoutier purchased the property in the highly valued area in 1999 after building a world-wide reputation in the Rhône valley. This effort is west of the Rhône region near the border of France and Spain and the Mediterranean.

The House of Bila, a translation of the name of the estate, once was a refuge for the Knights Templar, which explains the symbol of the label of this wine. The Chapoutier family moto is Fac et Sprea—“do and hope”. Their website celebrates audacity: “Being audacious means keeping an open mind, embracing new horizons, other localities, other organic winegrowing methods. Being audacious means combining tradition and modernity, making it possible for them to join forces and engender new know-how and craft.”

Part of that approach is careful attention to terroir, which includes responsible agriculture commitments and biodynamic agriculture in some areas. Led by winemaker Michael Chapoutier, they pioneered a special wine team dedicated to “accompanying the wine harvest” to provide guidance and support for implementing farming methods favored by M. Chapoutier among grape growers who provide grapes to the winery.

M. Chapoutier also asserts dedication to consumers. Their stated values include: “Respect for the consumer whether they are wine connoisseurs or not. Maison M. Chapoutier crafts its regional wines with the same dedication given to the most prestigious bottles, investing just as much faith. The aim is always to convey the same love of wine, to give complete beginners a chance to discover its diversity.”

M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays D’Oc Rosé 2017 is very delicate, reserved expression of grenache rosé blend. Its faintness of flavor does well as an aperitif, particularly when paired with light fruits and polite conversation. This could pair with almost anything because it is not assertive, just a light wine. Rosé is extremely versatile, so this clearly is able to work with almost anything light, especially if you want the wine in the background. $13-15

M. Chapoutier website

M. Chapoutier vineyard in Rhône Valley
M. Chapoutier vineyard
Winemaker Michael Chapoulier
Map of M. Chapoutier Roussillon holdings