2013 Bila-Haut ‘Occultem Lapidem’ by M. Chapoutier

This wine brings back memories. Great memories.

Indigo Restaurant, Soi Convent, Bangkok

There is a lovely French restaurant on Soi Convent in Bangkok, Thailand. It’s name is Indigo, but I’ve also heard it called the second French Embassy because the place is always packed with Frenchies – a sure sign of (at least relative) authenticity.

You walk down Convent and then turn left down an alley just before hitting Silom Road. The alley smells, the concrete is cracked and heaved, and a rat or two often scuttles away. It’s the last place you’d expect a French restaurant, which is why I loved taking guests and clients there. Then you step into a delightful courtyard filled with arching palms and twinkling lights, you hear the hubbub of happy diners and smell sizzling steak frites and you can’t help but smile.

I’ve eaten at Indigo 50 times, and had a glass or bottle of wine there at least 100 times. It’s no hyperbole to say that it’s one of my favorite places on earth. And on many of those occasions, this was the wine I chose: Michel Chapoutier’s Bila-Haut ‘Occultem Lapidem.’ It’s a very affordable GSM (well actually, SGC!) blend from Roussilon. And it’s delicious, a baby CdP full of amazing berry flavors.

I bought two cases of the 2013 Bila-Haut before I left Thailand. They came from a US retailer and were shipped to my storage locker in Portland. I wasn’t sure how long the wine would last, but Robert Parker gave the 2013 a 97 and said it could last for 10-15 years.

Unfortunately, it looks like he was wrong. I’ve tried several of the bottles over the last few years and they all taste a bit faded. The delicious fruit and chocolate/licorice aromas have receded into the background. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either.

Nonetheless, I’m smiling as I’m drinking it. Such amazing memories.

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