Posted by: tomciocco | February 1, 2013


As I write this, the Spanish region of Catalunya is approaching a fateful and potentially explosive referendum on complete independence from Spain, the results of which could set a major precedent for other nationless peoples all over the continent, not to mention right there in other areas of the Iberian peninsula. And then there’s poor Roussillon. Roussillon is the French name for the culturally and ethnically Catalan region of Rossello`that now rests in France, that would surely love to join the vote with their kin just across the border. Alas, for this little slice of historical Catalunya, it’s not to be…but if the vote on the other side goes big for independence, Paris may have a problem. But I begin with a digression…

The Catalan flag flies everywhere in Roussillon but unfortunately, too few vineyards here respect their viticultural roots; this wine does and it’s made by a big concern from France’s Northern Rhone, the irony of which should not be lost on anyone…Anyway, this big white is made from two of the numerous local Garnatxa/Grenache family of grapes, namely Grenache Blanc and the pink-skinned Grenache Gris, with the balance filled by the ubiquitous, native, and Cava-blend member, Macabeu. The fruit is sourced from two different vineyard sites, one in a warmer valley location with limestone and clay soils, with the other being perched at an elevation of 1,600 feet on rough, granitic soils. This trio of grapes, grown in two substantially different but still neighboring terroirs, and aged just briefly in stainless steel tanks, makes for a great “survey” wine of traditional Roussillon white vine varieties as well as a perfect vinous reflection of a region that is indeed a blend of mountains and valleys, but that is also still deeply influenced by the sea…

The vittles to accompany this chunky white consisted of a chickpea and roasted red pepper salad with a creamy tuna, garlic, onion, and herb dressing, and then a main course of baked squid stuffed with the chopped tentacles, bread, tomato, parsley, garlic, etc, with a thickened wine, bay leaf and pimenton sauce, all served with lots of good, chewy bread.














Bila-Haut Cotes de Roussillon Blanc 2011

Pale and bright “white gold” color. Gregarious nose of pear nectar, stewed apples, citron, pine nuts, ginger, grass, and charcoal. The wine enters the palate showing a full-bodied, round, and solid minerally structure well balanced by a zippy acidity, and concentrated flavors of  white currant paste, honeydew melon, kiwi, yellow plums, vanilla bean, hard sheep cheese, and seaweed. Rich and bittersweet Key Lime pie finish.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: