Domaine de Bila-Haut L’esquerda 2012

January 24, 2015 by  


Try with music pairing Ben Frost Aurora to double down on the darkness

Domaine de Bila-Haut L’esquerda 2012 by M. Chapoutier is a new specialties release at SAQ ($22.45), which is as good an excuse as any to check out an unfamiliar appellation.

The South-eastern French appellation Côtes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde Controlée is certainly not ubiquitous, so we took some time to read up on it while the wine was breathing. There are only four villages that have earned the status to be named on the label — Caramany, Latour-de-France, Tautavel, and Lesquerde. The  sub-appelations offer reds only, and the grapes allowed include Carignan, Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre. The L’esquerda has a majority of Syrah, with Grenache and Carignan.

This region has a strong Spanish influence, it is known for producing 90% of France’s sweet Vin Doux Natural wines (from Rivesaltes, Maury, Banyuls), but the dry wines are now gaining popularity and prestige. The region is Mediterranean, hot, sees an average of 325 days of sunshine, and drought is the main viticultural hazard. Lesquerde is mainly granite soils.

Music pairing: Ben Frost Aurora. Also dark and brooding, complex, balanced, excellent job done building to a climax. Quietly loud … like looking up from within the abyss of the white, snowy blindness of winter and remembering the warm embrace of sunshine will be coming soon.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is a wine that Philippe Dandurand Wines represents in Canada and I work as the Brand Manager for the M. Chapoutier portfolio.  I love my job, but this blog is a free time project.


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