Jeb Dunnuck 93-95
A big, rich, concentrated, unctuous effort that's not for those looking for lightweight aromas and flavors, the inky colored 2016 Ctes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem (50 Syrah, 40 Grenache, 5 Carignan and 5 Mourvdre) offers up a smorgasbord of cassis, black currants, peppery herbs and crushed violets. Rich, full-bodied and even tannic, it should improve with a year or so in bottle and keep through 2026.~J.D.
Wine Advocate 89-91
Tasted just two weeks prior to bottling, the 2016 Ctes de Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem was in fine form. Tarry, blueberry notes from the high-altitude Syrah dominate, but they're rounded out by Grenache's cherry fruit in this medium to full-bodied wine. Grown at 350 meters above sea level, it shows admirable restraint and fine, silky tannins for a wine from a hot, dry vintage.~J.C.
M. ChapoutierView all from M. Chapoutier
No name is more closely associated with the greatness of the Rhone valley than M. Chapoutier.
The history of the Chapoutier family stretches back to the early nineteenth century when current owner Michel Chapoutier's great-, great-, great-grandfather Marius purchased an estate and some vineyards in the now famous village of Tain l'Hermitage in the Northern Rhône Valley. Marius Chapoutier made history in the region when he became the first grape grower there to vinify his own fruit. Marius had tasted wines other winemakers produced using his fruit and he realized that something was lost in translation, so to speak. He knew that he owned some of the best growing sites in the appellation and he believed -- rightly -- that the grapes grown in his vineyards could produce long-lived world-class wines. In a move unusual at the time, he decided that he should make the wine himself. Not only did the quality of the wines increase greatly, but this move provided the capital to expand the Chapoutiers' already legendary estate.
A visionary and pioneer in biodynamic winemaking, his restless energy and unconditional commitment to quality have produced tremendous success, with the most 90+ point ratings of all Rhône producers and 16 "100 point" rated wines.