2015 Delas Frères "Les Bessards" Hermitage (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1336584 100 points Jeb Dunnuck

 The top cuvée from Delas is the 2015 Hermitage Les Bessards, and it's always 100% Syrah from the steep, broken granite soils of the Bessards lieu-dit. Aged 18 months in 30% new barrels, its purple/plum color is followed by a huge nose of blackcurrants, graphite, toasted spice, crushed rocks and saddle leather. Powerful, massively concentrated, and tannic, it has a broad, expansive, heavenly texture, a thick mid-palate (you could almost use a fork for this beauty), and a great finish. Despite the richness level, it stays balanced and graceful on the palate, and is never over the top or heavy. It's a perfect Hermitage that will start to shine with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for three decades or more. Bravo!  (12/2017)

99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 With approximately 500 cases produced, the 2015 Hermitage les Bessards is probably among the most available of the vintage's top wines. Jump on it if your means allow, as I suspect this wine will be a candidate for perfection once it sheds some tannin. It's perfumed on the nose, concentrated on the palate and amazingly long yet also elegant from start to finish. And amid the power, oak and massive cassis and blackberry fruit, it also manages to include hints of crushed stone evocative of its granitic terroir. It's breathtaking stuff, virtually guaranteed to bring a smile to any wine lover's face. (JC) 99+  (12/2017)

93-95 points Vinous

 Lurid ruby. Complex, expansive aromas of blackberry liqueur, incense, smoky minerals and Moroccan spices. An array of fresh black and blue fruit and floral pastille flavors show impressive energy and focus. Picks up allspice and star anise nuances with air, along with a suggestion of candied flowers that carries through the extremely long, sweet finish; smooth tannins make a late appearance. (ST)  (4/2017)

94 points James Suckling

 The granitic Bessards character is strong here with dark slate and dark, lustrous blackberry and plum fruits on the nose. The palate has a swathe of fine, long and powerful, yet velvety, tannins. Oak is nicely integrated. Very fresh. A great wine. Drink from 2020.  (7/2017)

91 points Wine & Spirits

 Delas Frères releases a wine from this patch of granite only in years the team considers outstanding. In 2015, the wine started with a two-day maceration before fermentation in open-topped vats; regular punch-downs and pump-overs further extracted even more flavor. It shows this extraction in its dark, inky scents and its sweet density; it feels thick in its concentrated purple fruit, with a full complement of oak from a year in new and one-year-old barrels. Rich and sumptuous, it telegraphs winemaking ambition and rarity. Only 6,000 bottles made.  (2/2018)

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Price: $219.99
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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.
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.
Specific Appellation:

Hermitage/Crozes-Hermitage