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Flat front label of wineFront shot of wine bottle

Delas Hermitage Les Bessards (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2016

  • JS96
  • D96
  • WS95
  • W&S94
  • WE94
  • JD94
  • RP93
1500ML / 14% ABV
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1500ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A brilliant wine, with deep red hue, and lots of depth. The nose shows great class, with soft aromas of blackberries, violets. Hermitage "Les Bessards" shows plenty of concentration in its fruit. This wine has a particularly dense and rich tannic structure, and is extremely good balance.

Pairs well with red meats, rare or medium cooked - game, marinated meats, and spicy stews.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JS 96
Briar, red cherries and darker plums, dark chocolate, pepper and spices. This has density and impressive, fleshy weight through the mid-palate. The tannins are web-like with a superb sense of detail. Light and shade. Lots on offer, even at this young stage. Will be great, so don’t miss this.
Barrel Sample: 95-96
D 96
Typically Bessards, showing granite, smoke and smoky bacon on the nose. It's full but svelte, seamless on the palate with exceptionally smooth, slatey tannins, sufficiently ripe but still fresh and toothsome. Concentrated and inky black fruits sit alongside tea leaf and a touch of cigar tobacco. It's not massive, but very well balanced and intense, with a long, well-tailored finish. This is fairly tannic, so give it time. A polished, thoroughbred Hermitage.
WS 95
Fresh and ripe, with a delicious mix of blueberry, blackberry and cherry fruit flavors that is carried by juicy acidity and backed by fruitcake, floral and iron notes through the finish. This has detail and length, with the fruit detail echoing wonderfully. Best from 2022 through 2035. 278 cases made, 134 cases imported.
W&S 94
This comes from a parcel of old vines in Les Bessards, a steep, terraced section of the Hermitage hill. The concentration of the fruit reads in its intense red-cherry flavors, but it’s the structure that sets the wine apart: Taut acidity and firm, licorice-scented tannins seem to hold the fruit in suspension, where it telegraphs its freshness in a pure, fresh beam of flavor. While there’s a hint of vanilla-toned new oak from its year in barrels, there’s nothing aggressive or showy about this wine; it simply feels steadfast and healthy, ready to age for another decade.
WE 94
While decadently fruit-forward for Hermitage, this rich, unctuous wine maintains the region's characteristic minerality and earthen complexities. Ripe black-cherry and plum flavors are warmed by spicy notes of anise and caramelized sugar along with fine, smooth tannins. It's a ripe, rather potent expression of Syrah but finessed enough to improve through 2030 and likely hold further.
JD 94
Slightly deeper colored, the 2016 Hermitage Les Bessards is a deeper, richer wine that still plays in the more elegant, charming, forward style of the vintage. Beautiful notes of black currants, burning embers, new saddle leather, and graphite are just some of the nuances here, and this beauty hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, ripe, supple tannins, and a great finish. Give this balanced, layered, and seamless Hermitage 2-4 years of bottle age and enjoy over the following two decades.
RP 93
Like I pointed out last year, the 2016 Hermitage Les Bessards lacks some of the tannic richness and concentration that normally characterizes this wine. It's medium to full-bodied, with charming raspberry fruit notes, a dusting of crushed stone and soft, elegant tannins on the long finish. It's almost approachable already, with another 15 years of life ahead of it.
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Delas Freres

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Delas Freres, France
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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.

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One of the smallest and most important Syrah regions of northern Rhone, Hermitage is practically one single south-facing slope of crushed granite, thinly covered with varied, yet well-charted soil types. Many climats (well identified parcels) exist within Hermitage and while some smaller producers make single climat Syrahs, some larger ones blend to make one balanced expression of the appellation.

Though the AC regulations allow the addition of up to 15% white grapes to a red Hermitage, in practice it is usually made from Syrah alone. Winemaking is pretty traditional—or you might say historic—with hot fermentations and aging in older barrels of various sizes. The best wines, characterized by deep, dense and sexy flavors of black fruit, cocoa, licorice and tobacco, have massive textures and a solid 10-20 years aging potential.

The region of Hermitage is totally enclosed; the only place it could go really is to literally fall down its own hill into the city of Tain or the Rhone River. Soil erosion is a problem and terraces exist alongside the hill in order to keep the earth in place. Crozes-Hermitage encloses the region entirely to its north and south.

While Hermitage seems synonymous with some of the best Syrah on the planet, actually about one third of the wine produced here comes from white grapes. The full, lush and robust Marsanne or the less common, but almost more charming, Roussanne create wonderful whites in which the best have great potential for aging, like the reds.

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Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

SWS918552_2016 Item# 527806