Yes, I'd Rather Drink Bila-Haut French Rosé Than Go to the Fair.

A Review Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc Rosé 2014 by Michel Chapoutier: Or, Why I’d rather drink French Rosé than go to the Iowa State Fair.

So, I turned Mr. Sportcoat earlier today and said, “You know. There’s only one day left of the Iowa State Fair. Maybe we should go tonight.”

Scene from the Iowa State Fair.

Scene from the Iowa State Fair.

He said, “To tell you the truth, I’d rather sit on the balcony, have a nice meal, drink some wine, then finish that Jean-Luc Godard film we started last night.”

Une Femme Mariée: It's Godard, so there's not much of a plot. But irresistible cinematography. See a clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfmn0en-mCU

Une Femme Mariée (1964): It’s Godard, so there’s not much of a plot. But irresistible cinematography. Check out a promo clip (though be advised this makes it seem more racy than it really is).

We both laughed, knowing all too well how utterly snobbish that sounded.

Nevertheless, we couldn’t drag ourselves to the fairgrounds for overpriced food on a stick. Yes, there are some other draws (the lights at night are spectacular), but having been 10 years in a row, I think we’ll skip a year. We’ll drink some wine, eat some Sockeye Salmon, and listen to the swell of the late-summer locusts; later, as they go silent, we’ll listen to the tree toads and crickets. And then we’ll go inside and finish up that Godard film.

Bila-Haut Rosé by Michel Chapoutier, from the Pays d'Oc.

Bila-Haut Rosé by Michel Chapoutier, from the Pays d’Oc.

So, what’s to drink? A spectacular late-summer night calls for a spectacular wine:

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc Rosé 2014 by Michel Chapoutier.

There are wine writers who will tell you to drink Rosé all year—and certainly, you can. But it will never taste better than right now. And in my mind, there are no better rosés than South-of-France rosés. This one is extraordinarily bright, fresh, and fruity, with that great combo of zippy red berries and citrusy appeal that I love in a French rosé.

It’s not super bone-dry, so if you’re looking for a rosé that drinks like a Tavel, this won’t be your wine. But I adored it, because (as I’ve probably said before!), I love some fruit in my pink wines. After all, if there aren’t any berries in my rosé, I might as well be drinking a white!

More details: It’s a blend of Cinsault and Grenache, and has a nice body for a summery wine. Alcohol by volume: 13% (I prefer a little less, but this is by no means a bruiser).

Disclosure: As is often the case with wine writers, I was sent this wine for review purposes. However, as always, I would never recommend a wine that I wouldn’t buy myself, and indeed, I plan to head out to buy some soon–before summer is truly over. It costs a very reasonable $13-ish a bottle.

 

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7 comments to Yes, I’d Rather Drink Bila-Haut French Rosé Than Go to the Fair.

  • I will have to check out the wine. I heard that when the chefs are finished cooking for the night, they all gather for a meal and drink rosé.

    Sounds like you have a smart husband. The news says it is really crazy at the fair with the heat, the crowds, fried foods, and the worst, politicians. 🙂

    • Wini

      You got that right (re: the politicians!). We had a lovely night right here, and a thunderstorm even rolled in, which is always lovely. So we definitely made the right decision.

  • I think I found that rosé for 7+€ here. I’ll definitely check it out.
    That hot dog looks mighty tasty. Can’t find them in Paris…

    • Wini

      Surely you can find “Un hot dog” at a cafe? I see them often–but they’re usually smothered in melted Gruyère…something I must say I kinda like!

  • EM

    I don’t blame you for not going. I grew up in Iowa and hated the fair when I lived there. Actually I have been back to it more often since I have lived away– and I still can’t get into anything about it. And I don’t get the big deal about all of the food on a stick and the junky food in general!

    Watching a movie and drinking some nice wine sounds much more pleasant, civilized and cool (seriously why is the fair at such a hot and humid time of year?!) than going to the fair anytime!

  • EM

    For the Paris poster who can’t find hot dogs– have you tried IKEA? They serve them in the cafe there. At my IKEA (in central Europe) they are 50 cents each. One of my little guilty pleasures in life when going to IKEA!

  • Henri

    “I heard that when the chefs are finished cooking for the night, they all gather for a meal and drink rosé.”

    It’s true, even when I finish all alone, I’ll quench my thirst with a rosé.

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