2012 Domaine de Bila Haut "Occultum Lapidem" Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem offers dark, mineral-laced aromas and flavors of smoked earth, licorice, wild herbs and blackcurrants to go with a firm, structured and age-worthy profile on the palate. Comprised of mostly Syrah, from schist and gneiss soils, and aged in tank and demi-muid, this superb 2012 has solid mid-palate depth, ample tannin and a beautifully focused finish. It’s a superb value that will be even better in another year or so, and have 12-15 years of ultimate longevity.
According to Jeb Dunnuck for Wine Advocate: "Any project Michel Chapoutier is involved with seems to excel, and his Roussillon Bila Haut domaine is no exception. With vineyards around the villages of Latour de France and Lesquerde, this estate releases five reds; the entry level Les Vignes de Bila Haut, which comes from a number of vineyards (and is a screaming value); the L’Esquerde, mostly Syrah from the higher elevation, granite soils around the village of Lesquerde; the Occultum Lapidem, which is made from Syrah, Grenache and Carignan from around the village of Latour de France; and his two single vineyard releases, the VIT from Latour de France and the RI from Lesquerde. These last two get close to the pinnacle of Syrah, and will stand toe to toe with the greatest Syrahs from the northern Rhone and California. Unfortunately, they’re only produced in minuscule quantities, but don’t miss a chance to grab some if you can...I was able to taste the 2012s twice, once last year, in October during my trip through the northern Rhone, and then again from bottle in January at the domaine in the Roussillon. They showed even better from bottle, and these ratings may be conservative as I think these wines will continue to improve." (04/2014) 14.5% abv.