Wrote Pearson's in Glover Park: "We are the only store to bring this to you in the city and area as we currently have exclusive rights to this wine. We have an unbelievable price of $14.95 per bottle and a Limited Time Special Case Price of $13.95."
We love Pearson's. Its one of our absolute favorite places to shop for wine, due largely to its perpetually-open, always well-stocked tasting table. (Not to mention Michael's spot-on recommendations.) But seriously?
Not only is Pearson's NOT the only wine shop in Washington to carry the 2010 Domaine Bila-Haut Les Vignes Bila-Haut, from Michel Chapoutier, one of the most highly regarded winemakers in France. Its sale price isn't even the best in town for this delicious red made with equal parts grenache, syrah and carignan.
Robert Parker, arguably the country's most influential critic, scored the 2003 vintage of Les Vignes Bila-Haut 87 points, and his Wine Advocate newsletter has awarded 89 to 91 points to each of the last four vintages. And Wine Spectatorconcurs, scoring the 2007 through 2009 vintages 87 to 90 points. But Parker's score for the new 2010 vintage has sent bargain hunters scurrying to snap up the wine, which typically sells for $15 a bottle or less.
Paul's of Chevy Chase sold out of its first allotment of the 2010 after Parker scored it 92-94 points in the December issue of WA. But Paul's is getting a second shipment later this month, and it's on sale for $13.99 (regularly $16.99) for a single bottle, $12.99 each for a six pack and $11.89 a bottle by the case.
Even though you can still find both the 2008 and 2009 on store shelves, the 2010 may very well be in short supply after Parker's "review," which oddly offered no tasting notes, just his raw score.
"These Chapoutier wines are sometimes reviewed by my colleagues ... so I will just list the wines, my score, and the region from which they emerge," Parker wrote in December."They are of very high quality and deserve readers attention. Hopefully my prose has convinced more than a handful of readers to try these remarkable wines from one of the most fascinating and compelling personalities in the entire wine world, and one dedicated to the highest quality."
"Toasted hazelnut, coffee and black fruit aromas made me want to inhale this wine again and again," wrote John Foy on the Newark Star-Ledger's website, NJ.com. "Flavors of black cherry and blackberry crossed the palate, trailing bitter herbs and juniper berry, adding complexity and length to this compelling wine."
The coveted 2010 vintage is also available and on sale at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg for $14.98. The 2008 vintage, which earned 90 point and was named to Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2009 (No. 75), is still available at The Vineyard in McLean for $13.99 a bottle and The Wine Bin in Ellicot City for $15. And if you want to try a vertical tasting of the last three vintages, the 2009 can be found at Potomac Wine & Spirits, among other wine shops, for $13.99.
Despite the dismissive take our new favorite wine podcast, Wine for Normal People, has on the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France, it remains one of the best sources of great value. The white from Bila Haut is also worth seeking out (try Chain Bridge Cellars). Both the red and white are consistent performers that are just barely too pricey to make our Top 5 Value Wines. But at $12 to $15 a bottle, they're still a spectacular buy.
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