M. Chaputier Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2014

chaputier-bila-hautRemember those commercials that proclaim Yellow Tail as “the go to?” I can’t stand ’em. The only thing Yellow Tail is a go to for is swill. But if you’re reading this website, I probably don’t need to convince you of that.

So, what, one might ask, is the actual “go to?”

Not too long ago, interestingly, I was in a supermarket (in a state other than PA, obviously) in a vacation area, staring at an overpriced, poorly curated wine selection, wondering where to find a reasonable, reliable drink that would deliver value and satisfaction. What did I walk out with? Côtes du Rhône. The go to.

Although context, food pairing, and other matters come into play, this blend of mostly Grenache & Syrah is about as close to an all around play as I could think of. It’s versatile, easy-going, and usually delivers happiness for less than $15, even at an overpriced resort supermarket. Just find a reputable vintner and you’re sure to get something solid.

Unrelated to the aforementioned supermarket visit, I recently had the chance to try a Languedoc red from a famed Rhône producer, M. Chaputier. And though the Languedoc is certainly a different region than the Rhône, in many ways it is similar – same grapes, same basic climate, etc. In other words, a solid “Rhône blend” from the Languedoc is every bit the “go to” as that Côtes du Rhône, sometimes at an even better price, since the region’s past reputation isn’t as good.

Enter the Le Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2014, an easy, inexpensive bottle that’s sure to deliver pleasure to a variety of palates. A young wine, it needs a good hour or so to open, but given that, it expresses a savory nose of smoke, tar and forest floor, which then merges into a palate of blue fruit, anise, menthol and earth. On the strong finish, alongside firm tannin and acidity, there’s an unmistakable stony note. All in all, there’s a lot of complexity here for the money.

Or just forget about all that, and drink it for fun. After all, it’s only $13.

BUY IT: PLCB ($12.99) | Wine-Searcher ($14)

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