2011 Delas Hermitage les Bessards

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2011-delas-hermitage-les-bessards

Wine Critic Reviews for 2011 Delas Hermitage les Bessards

Even better and one of the top two to three wines in the vintage, the 2011 Hermitage Les Bessards (100% Syrah that spent 16 months in 70% new French oak) possesses an inky purple color to go with a fabulously rich, pure bouquet of smoked earth, ground pepper, underbrush and licorice that’s supported by awesome black raspberry and cassis-styled fruit. Full-bodied, seamless and layered, with masses of sweet tannin and notable structure, this beauty bucks the vintage stereotype and will need short-term cellaring to become approachable. It will have 2-3 decades of longevity.

Run by Jacques Grange and Claire Darnaud, Delas, which is owned by the Louis Roederer-Deutz Champagne firm, is producing no nonsense, extremely high quality efforts that are near the top of each of their respective appellations. I was consistently impressed by the wines, and they stood out in all of the larger tastings that I was able to do. In addition, I was able to taste the wines again at the domain, and again once back in the states. These are serious efforts worthy of attention. As to the Hermitages, they produce two, a standard Domaine des Tourettes, and in top vintages, the Les Bessards. In addition to the top-flight Cote Rotie and Hermitage releases, this estate produces a bevy of high quality efforts from Cornas and Saint Joseph.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RP
A dark, muscular, slightly rugged style, with chunky-edged grip supporting loam, bittersweet cocoa, steeped black currant and charcoal notes, with buried acidity emerging on the finish. This should be tamed by cellaring as the smoldering edge settles into the background. Best from 2016 through 2026. 75 cases imported.

Wine Spectator | 94 WS
Opaque ruby. Potent blackberry, cherry-cola, licorice and mineral scents pick up a peppery quality with aeration, as well as notes of dark chocolate and pungent herbs. Shows excellent depth and energy in the mouth, offering sweet dark fruit and mocha flavors that are underscored and lifted by tangy acidity. The floral and mineral notes energize the incisive finish, which features supple tannins and a touch of fruitcake. (The 2010 Bessards is, unsurprisingly, still a baby, but it's showing a suave, seamless texture and deep, sweet dark fruit character that is surprisingly user-friendly for such a young Hermitage. Don't be deceived, though, as this wine deserves many more years of patience).

Vinous Media | 92 VM

Wine Details on 2011 Delas Hermitage les Bessards

More Information
Producer Delas
Region Rhone: While the Northern Rhone produces only about 5% of all wine coming out of the Rhone Valley, the quality of these bottles is not to be underestimated. The terroir in this region is heavenly for growing Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne or Rousanne - the only permitted grapes in the AOC. Picture this - the Rhone flows through the valley like an azure thread piercing the landscape, a reflection of the dreamy skies hovering above the vineyards, ready to produce rainfall at a moment's notice. The rocky soil of the steep, almost surreal hillsides provides a bountiful feast for the grapevine roots. The flavors and texture of Northern Rhone wines tell you everything you need to know as soon as your lips touch the elixir, like a whisper in the vigorous valley winds

As per the Southern Rhone wine, it is like taking a plunge into a whirlpool of juicy flavor. Every sip explodes forward like a crashing tsunami, bathing your tastebuds in delicious aromas of prune, chocolate, grass, and black fruit. The wines are so compelling that it can be hard to drink them casually at a social event without getting lost in their intricate textures and emotional depths. Let's set sail together, and drink deep from these luxurious bottles with our friends and loved ones.
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Hermitage: Hermitage provides a bouquet of scents and flavors with a texture that cannot be fully deciphered. Expect to be blown away by an orchestral composition of primal blackberries and black raspberries, earthy minerals, playful spice and a thick bassline of smoke. Their immense aging potential makes them ideal candidates for hoarding in your cellar!
Varietal Shiraz/Syrah: Something magical occurred when two ancient French grapes procreated and the varietal of Syrah entered the world of winegrowing. The exact time period of its inception is still undetermined; however, the origin of Syrah’s parentage confirms it was birthed in the Rhone Valley. DNA testing performed by UC Davis has indicated that Syrah is the progeny of the varietals Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche, both of Rhone origin. Syrah dominates its native homeland of Northern Rhone and has become one of the most popular grape varietals in the world.

Syrah, Shiraz and Petite Sirah have often been confused and misunderstood, some consumers believing them to all be the same grape, while others thinking the opposite. Petite Sirah is actually the offspring of Syrah and Peloursin and though related, is an entirely different grape variety. Its official name is Durif, for the name of the French nurseryman who first propagated the varietal in the 1880s; it is called Petite Sirah in California (due to the resemblance of Syrah, but smaller berries). Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape. Producers in Australia have been labelling Syrah as “Shiraz” since James Busby first introduced the varietal to the continent. The Scottish viticulturist brought Syrah from France to Australia in the middle of the 18th century and labelled the cuttings as “Sycras” and “Ciras,” which may have led to the naming. Most California vintners label their bottlings as Syrah and of course in French style and tradition, the name of the village or area the grape is cultivated dictates the label name.

The Syrah grape is at home in Northern Rhone where the climate is cool and the terroir is filled with gravel, schist, limestone, iron, granite and sandy soils. It thrives on rocky, hilly terrain with a southern exposure, due to its need for sunlight. Syrah is a very vigorous grape with a spreading growth habit. The berries are small to medium oval shaped blue-black and tend to shrivel when ripe.

Today, Syrah is one of the most popular and widely planted grape varietals in the world, covering almost 190,000 hectares across the earth’s surface. It is the only red grape variety permitted by AOC regulations in the appellations of Hermitage and Cote-Rotie, where it has breathed life into some of the most tremendous wines on the planet. Languedoc-Roussilon has the most surface area planted in France with 43,200 hectares dedicated to Syrah. The varietal is used for blending in Southern Rhone, Provence and even Bordeaux. Syrah has spread worldwide from Australia to California and South Africa to Spain creating the ‘New World’ hype of the varietal. Since the 1990’s, Syrah winegrowing and production has increased exponentially; for example, in 1958 there were a mere 2,000 hectares planted in France. By 2005 that number increased to over 68,000 hectares and today it is well over 70,000. The same holds true for California, Australia and other ‘New World’ producers that have jumped “all in.” World-wide there are approximately 190,000 hectares of Syrah currently being cultivated.

The allure of Syrah has taken the world by storm, but is important to note where the hype began. Long before Syrah was being stamped with ‘New World’ or of ‘cult status,’ the tremendous quality of Hermitage was being written about in Thomas Jefferson’s diary. Today, the grape variety can be grown, fashioned, named and enjoyed in a myriad of ways, but the quality of Syrah grape remains the same – incredible.

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