Delas Hermitage Les Bessards 2003
Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
The Hermitage "Les Bessards" is named after a sub-region of the Hermitage appellation, where the steeply terraced hillside vineyards have an excellent southwestern exposure. They also produce some of the world's most intense, dense wines from the rich Syrah varietal. Delas owns 14 acres in this prized region, which is a large amount by Rhône standards.
This unique cuvée illustrates the enormous potential of this incomparable vineyard. The wine has a deep red color. The nose is aromatic with scents of berries, currants and violets. Les Bessards is rich in the mouth with bold, yet silky tannins and concentrated black cherry/plum fruit. It's an exceptional wine with a firm structure that will benefit from long cellaring.
The Wine Advocate - "The luxury cuvee, the inky/blue/purple-hued 2003 Hermitage Les Bessards (4,200 bottles; 13.6% alcohol), exhibits a huge perfume of spring flowers, blueberries, blackberries, licorice, and scorched earth. With superb richness, magnificent intensity, and a full-bodied, tannic finish, it will benefit from 5-10 years of cellaring, and should age for 30+ years."
Wine Spectator - "Has lots of grip, with a very stony undertow carrying notes of wet pebble, sweet earth, licorice, coffee and fig. Pretty lavender and spice box hints flitter in the background as well. Dark and chewy on the finish for now, this needs time to settle into itself. Best from 2009 through 2030."
International Wine Cellar - "Medium ruby. Began youthfully closed, but with aeration this revealed deep, ripe aromas of dark cherry, plum, bitter chocolate, espresso and minerals. Firmly built and brooding, with flavors of dark berries, licorice and tobacco carrying through the finish. A big, almost hulking wine that will need some serious cellaring to gain complexity and definition. But this appear to have all the necessary elements.
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Delas Freres Winery
Founded over 160 years ago, Delas Frères was acquired by Champagne Deutz in 1977.
Delas Frères cultivates vineyards on the steep granite slopes of the northern Rhône, in some of the region's most prestigious appellations. Additional grapes are supplied through long-term agreements with southern Rhone growers dedicated to providing only top quality grapes.
Crafted by winemaker Jacques Grange to epitomize finesse and elegance, recent Delas Frères vintages from the vineyards of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Côte Rôtie, Condrieu, Côtes-du-Rhône and Côtes-du-Ventoux have won renewed praise for their intensity of flavor and excellent value. View all Delas Freres Wines
About HermitageView a map of Hermitage wineries (EHR-me-tahj) and Crozés-Hermitage (krohz EHR-me-tahj)
Notable FactsSyrah is the only varietal permitted in the red wines, while whites are typically blends of both Marsanne and Roussanne. All three varieties grow on the Hermitage hill. The red wines of Hermitage are powerful, age-worthy wines, often commanding prices similar to those of top Bordeaux. They are big in fruit and tight in tannins, but with a few years of age (from three years to three decades) they are beautifully complex, perfumed and sensuous. Their whites are somewhat mineral-driven, and depending on the blend, may have an almost oily texture (in a good way!).
Like the island of Manhattan, once all the land of Hermitage is gone, the land is gone – hard to create sprawl from an already established hill. So winemakers planted in the vineyards surrounding Hermitage, in the much larger and flatter appellation of Crozés-Hermitage. The area produces wines of the same make-up of Hermitage – reds from Syrah, whites from Marsanne and Roussanne. Red wines are allowed up to 15% of the white varieties. Some of the reds are full of fruit flavor and ready to drink now, while others are trying to follow Hermitage, by making wines with lots of power and longevity. The whites are few, but enjoyable with good fruit and the same texture of those from Hermitage.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.