Founded 160 years ago in the heart of the northern Côtes du Rhône, Delas Freres today crafts world class wines from both northern and southern Rhône.
Tending the steep sloping vineyards, which total some 30 hectares of vines, the team adapt their growing practices to each plot of vines to let the terroir of the Rhône shine through in the wines.
Crafted by winemaker Jacques Grange (who is originally from Burgundy), the wines from Delas Freres epitomise finesse and elegance. Recent vintages from the vineyards of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Côte Rôtie, Condrieu, Côtes-du-Rhône and Côtes-du-Ventoux have bee lauded in the press for their intensity of flavour and excellent value.
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. Those vineyards produce some of the world’s most intense, dense wines from the rich Syrah varietal. Delas owns 25 acres in this prized region, which is a large amount by Rhône standards. This cuvée is a vineyard plot selection. The grapes come exclusively from the oldest plot within the renowned area of “Les Bessards” in the heart of the Hermitage slopes. This wine is only produced during the very best years and the production is deliberately limited to 6,000 bottles (75 cl.) per year
The soils are a combination of granite with alluvial quaternary delta deposits and Pliocene marl. This diversity explains the numerous names given to the various vineyard plots within the appellation: Bessards, Greffieux, Méal, Roucoule, Beaumes, etc. The vineyards are south-facing and protected from the north winds. The slopes are well exposed to the sun.
Harvesting for “Les Bessards” is entirely manual and occurs when the grapes show optimum ripeness. Fermentation takes place in traditional, open-topped concrete tanks after two days of pre-fermentary skin contact at cool temperatures. Fermenting continues at controlled temperatures of 82°F to 86°F (28°C to 30°C). Daily cap punching and pumping over are carried out for about 10 days, with a total maceration period of up to 20 days. Maturation lasts between 12 and 14 months in oak barrels, which are new or have already held one wine. These are regularly racked in order to provide the tannins with enough oxygen for an optimum maturing.
The wine is a brilliant, deep red hue with lots of depth. The nose shows great class, with soft aromas of blackberries and violets. Hermitage “Les Bessards” shows plenty of concentration in its fruit. This is a wine with a particularly dense tannic structure, and extremely good balance.
This wine pairs well with red meats, rare or medium cooked - game, marinated meats and spicy stews. This wine needs at least three years cellaring before it can open up its complexity. After this time, it should be decanted before serving. It is recommended you open the bottle one to three hours before drinking.
September 2019, Josh Raynolds
“Opaque purple. Mineral-accented dark berries, candied licorice, olive paste, exotic spices and pungent flowers on the explosively perfumed nose. Deeply concentrated yet energetic black raspberry, spicecake, smoked meat and violet pastille flavors are complicated by vibrant mineral and dark chocolate notes that build on the back half. Sweet, sappy and sharply delineated on an extremely long, floral- and dark-fruit-driven finish that shows superb clarity and steadily building, harmonious tannins.”
July 1, 2019, Anna Lee C. Iijima
“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.”
February 20, 2019, James Molesworth
“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.”
Wine & Spirits
“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.”
December 20, 2018, Jeb Dunnuck
“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.”
The Wine Advocate
October 31, 2018, Joe Czerwinski
“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.”
August 29, 2018, James Suckling
“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.”