The Roussillon region of southern France is a fascinating one for viticulture, with a winemaking history that stretches back to the earliest years of European civilisation. Today, it is a part of France which has a distinctly Spanish vibe - being on the border of this neighboring country - and bullrings and earthy, Iberian-influenced red wines sit side by side with the various icons of French finesse and elegance. It comes as no surprise that Roussillon would sooner or later become of interest for Michel Chapoutier (a family winery which has been making some of the finest French wines since 1808 and shows no sign of stopping) as the levels of expression possible in the stony, low-yielding vineyards which characterize this region are hard to resist. This interest led to M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut, a winery which is now recognized as one of the finest in all of Roussillon, and capable of producing truly fascinating and complex wines which are a credit to this ancient region, and to the name Chapoutier.
M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut benefits greatly from the typical climatic conditions of the south of France. Beautiful, long sunny summers allow for a lengthy growing season, wherein the grapes can take on much of the character of their terroir and reach outstanding levels of ripeness. This is tempered by cool nights and fresh sea breezes, which provide the grapes with balance and body. However, it is the soil of Bila-Haut that is the star of the show, and the reason for this winery’s existence. Limestone and chalk give strength and body, and gneiss provides a mineral edge to the three fine grape varietals which are grown in the hilly vineyards of this appellation. The Syrah grapes grown here are bold and spicy, the Grenache varietal provides rich juice and brightness, and finally, the Carignan grapes make the blend complete with their tannic character and mineral features.