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Delas Hermitage Les Bessards 2006

Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
  • RP97
  • WS93
14% ABV
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The limited production blockbuster 2006 Hermitage Les Bessards is exquisite. Opaque inky/purple-colored with a stunning perfume of white chocolate, creme de cassis, incense, and camphor, this 2006 possesses fabulous fruit, full-bodied power, awesome concentration, and sweet, noble tannins. A classic in the making, it will be drinkable in 8-10 years, and should keep for half a century.

In the late 1990s, as the quality of one of the northern Rhone's most well-known negociant firms, Paul Jaboulet-Aine, was beginning to decline, the quality of Delas Freres was soaring, and they are now one of the three top negociant firms in the Rhone Valley. Delas Freres has been the property of Champagne Deutz since 1996, and belongs to the same owners as Champagne Louis Roederer. The owners as well as the Directeur Technique, the brilliant Jacques Grange, and winemaker Jean-Francois Farinet deserve credit for the rise in quality at this operation. The Delas Freres wines continue to go from strength to strength, and while I believe the Jaboulet wines will return to form under the new ownership, Delas Freres is already there. The current portfolio includes strong 2006s and very good 2007s. As long-time readers know, there is a hierarchy to the Delas wines from Crozes-Hermitage, St.-Joseph, Hermitage, and Cote Rotie. The finest values come from Crozes-Hermitage (especially their lower level cuvees, Les Launes and Domaine des Grands Chemins), and from St.-Joseph (Les Challeys). The quality jumps dramatically with the Crozes-Hermitage Le Clos, St.-Joseph Francois de Tournon, and the luxury cuvee, the St.-Joseph Ste.-Epine. In top vintages, there are two offerings from Cote Rotie, the single vineyard La Landonne and the Seigneur de Maugiron. Both cuvees were produced in 2006, but only the Seigneur de Maugiron was made in 2007 (because of the hail storm that destroyed a large percentage of the crop in Cote Rotie). Delas Freres owns 25 acres in Hermitage, from which they produce two cuvees, with Les Bessards only made in the top vintages.

WS 93
Wine Spectator
Plush and smoky, with bacon, braised fig, tobacco and loam notes wrapped around a core of crushed black currant fruit. Shows some muscle on the finish, with sanguine and coffee notes weaving in and out. Drink now through 2018. 157 cases imported.
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Delas

Delas Freres

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Delas Freres, Hermitage, Rhone, France
Video of 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.

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 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.

MRF105593_2006 Item# 105593