2016 Château de L'Ou "Secret de Schistes" Côtes Catalanes

SKU #1388671 95 points Jeb Dunnuck

 One of the more powerful, rich, and decadent wines in the lineup, the 2016 Côtes Catalanes Secret De Schistes (100% Syrah vinified and aged in 300-liter barrels) boasts a deep purple color as well as fabulous notes of blackberries, black raspberries, crushed rock-like minerality, and Asian spices. With medium to full body, terrific concentration, and notable vibrancy and freshness, drink it over the coming decade.  (11/2018)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Another barrel-fermented and aged 100% Syrah, the 2016 Secret de Schistes takes subtle notes of crushed stone, then layers them with bold cherry and blueberry fruit. It's a big, flavorful yet supple wine, loaded with fruit and boasting hints of caramel and maple syrup that blend easily with the ripe flavors. As a group, these are wonderfully ripe, modern wines loaded with fruit and oak. (JC)  (4/2018)

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Price: $29.99

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By: Thomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/24/2019 | Send Email
Wow. The quality of this wine is apparent the moment the wine hits the glass. Dark, different, intriguing. There are definitely some Cornas-like things going on here: that sort of sour plum, black pepper and mineral drive. The fruit expression is a little more pure than what I’ve had from this producer in the past, it feels like the oak is just a touch more restrained. On the palate this is classic big Syrah. Rich and decadent fruit, with soft, smoothed tannins. This should be on anyone’s radar who love producers like Saxum or Booker. The wine is clean, modern, incredibly concentrated and powerful.

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/23/2019 | Send Email
The nose is full of ripe aromatics, sweetish with just a hint of wood. However this wine has no sweetness to it, there’s just a mouthful of richness, broad, powerful and a kaleidoscope of flavors. I generally am not a Syrah fan but this wine doesn’t have the negative portions of Syrah I don’t like. This wine is pure, balanced shows real power without any flab; this isn’t a "secret" anymore, this wine is sensational.

By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/10/2018 | Send Email
Vine whisperers like Severine Bourrier of Chateau De L'Ou know that vineyards speak a rather earthy vernacular, if we could only hear them: "Quit taking my grapes for granite."....“Why should I root for you, you have a heart of clay!“ .. “Oh yeah, that wasn’t very gneiss of you! I think you’re full of schiste.” “l take that as a compliment, especially coming from you....besides, why should I gravel beneath your opinion?” Ok, you get the tone.... low vigor vines have to conserve their energy, in that a great bottle of wine is the best response to all that thrown dirt. And putting the name of your soil on the label certainly takes pride of place, as Severine's magnificent Syrah powerfully attests. One swirl, one sip and you will know....a symposium of dark fruits, perfumed with violets, sumptuous pepper spice, harmonious woodland notes and supple tannins. A generous wine to slate, excuse me, slake your thirst, from the good earth.

By: Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/6/2018 | Send Email
One of my all time favorite direct imports is back and richer and deeper than ever. Like I've said before, this is my favorite time of year to indulge in syrah, and I'm just glad to have this one back on the shelf to drink whenever suits me. Vibrant and fresh, this vintage has stunning notes plum, mineral driven earthy flavor, and various spices. A perfect bottle for any Syrah lover.

By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/4/2018 | Send Email
Last year was a banner year for our southern French department. Through our relationship with Antech, Reserve d'O, and Clos de l'Anhel, we were fortunate enough to be introduced to the marvelous winemaker, Severine Bourrier. All of these wineries are part of an association of women winemakers known as the Vinifilles, a group that travels together, sharing information, marketing each others wines and having in general a good time. Each producer is a specialist in her respective region, Severine's is the Roussillon. Her winemaking skills are impressive but when you visit the individual sites, which I was able to do this past year, you see that this is where the true work is done. The Secret de Schistes comes from all brown slate soils from a single parcel deep in the Agly Valley further west and more sparse. Every great vineyard tells a story and this site speaks volumes. The vines are stressed by the poor soil, it's a steep slope and its sometimes difficult to access because of weather conditions. The site's natural yield is exceedingly low but the quality of the fruit is astounding. It actually dusted a light snow while we were there, which if you have ever visited Roussillon is not a common occurrence. The 2015 ranked as one of our most successful wines last year and this new vintage is a superb follow-up. We have so many fans, people are still asking for the wine. Well the 2016 has just arrived and is equally fabulous. The fruit is explosive with a nose of currant jam, blueberries, sassafras and cola. The palate is deft and elegantly balanced (elegance is what Severine ultimately strives for). It has the structure to lay down but possesses inviting qualities that make it hard to keep your hands off. From collector, to enthusiast, to drinker, there is so much to like in this wine.

By: William Beare | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/4/2018 | Send Email
My original draft of this review was simply the word "wow" jotted down on a piece of paper surrounded by telltale wine stains. I thought it might be prudent to add more specificity, but I maintain that "wow" is a very apt reaction. This is some seriously tasty old-world Syrah with a bit of new-world flair. The name literally translates to "Shale's Secret," an homage to the mineral-laden terroir. Vines grown on shale (or "schist") must work long and hard to dig through layers of the metamorphic rock, providing the structure and elegance on display here. Dusty and spicy in the nose with traces of leather and dark chocolate. On the palate the wine has incredible dimension, and has a long finish full of fragrant pepper and earth.

By: Cameron Price | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/4/2018 | Send Email
You step out of the back door of your mountain home retreat and walk across the fog laden grass to the stables to visit your prized steed. Your labor burdened hands reach inside the vest pocket of your flannel morning jacket for Grandpa's corncob pipe and slowly begin to pack it without missing a step. As you reach your stallion and caress its mane, your mind drifts to the evenings dinner and the family it will be shared with. A succulent Roasted Pork Shoulder garnished with rosemary and clove and a generous side of your favorite garlic mashed potatoes. A simple but elegant and savory meal to be accompanied by a fitting bottle of wine. Which wine you ask? Why Secret de Schistes of course!

By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/4/2018 | Send Email
The follow-up to the best-selling wine of last year has big shoes to fill, but for one of the most exciting properties in Southern France, the task wasn’t too tall. Right from the get-go, intoxicating aromas of deep red fruits and garrigue immediately have me thinking of high-end Chateauneuf. The texture is soft and seamless with juicy raspberry, deep blackberry, and a long finish lined with fine tannin and bright acidity. Compared to the 2015, it feels more refined and accessible in the best ways possible. This is another terrific bottling, and one that will have elite Southern Rhone producers taking notice.

Additional Information:



- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


Alcohol Content (%): 15.5