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Delas Hermitage Les Bessards 2003

Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
  • RP96
  • WS95
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's 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.
WS 95
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.
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Delas

Delas Freres

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Delas Freres, Hermitage, Rhone, 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.

Hermitage

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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.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

MMR101249_2003 Item# 101249