20 dollars: Domaine de Bila-Haut "les Vignes de Bila-Haut (red)", Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2013
I worked as vintage cellar manager at Domaine de Bila-Haut back where this wine is made in 2007 and completely fell in love with the wild countryside of the mediterranean foothills of the Pyrennees, its vineyards that are buffetted by wind and massaged by the sun, and the wild boars that roam the country in hefty grunting packs. The wines are for me a perfect combination of fruit intensity and minerality. The region that they come from - the Cotes du Roussillon Villages - is the most exciting up-and-coming wine district in France.
A blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Carignan and Cinsault from the Côtes de Roussillon Villages area in Catalonia, just north of the Spanish border, where I worked as cellar manager back in 2007. This is a meaty wine of hearty warmth and direct pleasure. It smashes out of the park many similar blends selling for the same price under the Côtes-du-Rhône tag although the styles are quite similar. So if you love Côtes-du-Rhône but like the idea of supercharging the bang-for-buck ratio then you will love this wine. Consume now and over the next five years.