Le Charmel 2015 Cotes de Provence (near Bandol)
30% Syrah, 30% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache, 10% Rolle (Vermentino); 12.5% ABV
imported by Winesellers, Ltd., Niles, IL
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store some weeks ago. No longer there.
Les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2015 Pays D’Oc IGP; 13% ABV
by Michel Chapoutier
imported by HB Wine Merchants, NY
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store
When I bought these, they were both new arrivals. The Bila-Haut is still around, but Le Charmel is long gone, at least from Richmond. They were both pretty tasty, but I preferred Le Charmel.
Le Charmel was engagingly aromatic of less ripe cantaloupe and mild white flowers. There was more of this on the palate, with a slightly viscous minerality and a hints of lavender and red berries, and the acid nicely in balance. The flavor was perhaps a little light for me at first, but after adjusting, I found it a very pleasant and elegant wine. Interestingly, it contains 10% Rolle (Vermentino), a white grape.
The next day, I liked it better, with the fruit more forward while the wine still retained most of its minerality. This is an easy Thumbs Up for me.
The Bila-Haut had less of a nose, but showed stronger fruit of strawberry, cherry, and red currant, less minerality, and attention-getting lip-smacking acid and a tang of bitterness. I found this more flavorful, but less elegant and balanced. Here is a Wine Enthusiast review of this wine.
The next day, I liked it better, as the wine had smoothed out and integrated, but was still quite tasty. I’d go with Drinkable for this wine.
Of course, my favorite was a blend of about 1/4 – 1/3 Bila-Haut, the rest Le Charmel. 🙂