2011 Delas Freres "Les Bessards" Hermitage

SKU #1176039 99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 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. (JD)  (12/2013)

94 points Wine Spectator

 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. (JM)  (12/2013)

92 points Vinous

 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.) (JR)  (3/2014)

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 From the most granitic part of the Hermitage hill, this is sweet and lush on the surface, firm and gravelly underneath. With time in the glass, the two parts meld more seamlessly, the earthy tones imbuing the purple fruit with a meaty savor. Decant to drink now with a standing rib roast, or hold another eight to twelve years.  (2/2014)

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Price: $179.99
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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- 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.
Country:

France

- 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. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Rhone

- Legendary wine-producing region in southeast France. Stereotypically speaking, Rhone wines are high in alcohol, and the majority produced is red. The northern Rhone is best known for outstanding 100% Syrah wines from areas such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage, as well as for fabulous white wines from Condrieu (where Viognier is king). In the southern Rhone, look for spicy, full-bodied wines that are blends of Grenache, Syrah, and other varietals coming from appellations such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, or Rasteau. Wines labeled as Cote du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Village (a cut above generic Cotes du Rhone) are frequently found here in the US because they often represent some of the best values on the market. View our bestselling Rhone Valley wines.
Specific Appellation:

Hermitage/Crozes-Hermitage