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.
2017 was one of the earliest harvests on record. A year for excellent quality but much smaller harvests across the region. Claire Darnaud reported ‘the perfect vintage with amazing weather conditions: warm and sunny since April, with just a few rainfalls at exactly the time when the vines were starting to show stress… basically no disease pressure, weeds have been growing very little and spraying, as well ploughing the soils, could be kept to a minimum… come harvest time, the foliage was absolutely perfect – green and healthy.’
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.
96 POINTS, CELLAR SELECTION
July 1, 2020, Anna Lee C. Iijima
“Deep, undulating layers of cassis and mulberry are shaded by hints of cinnamon, charred meat and coffee bean in this hulking Syrah. It’s a rich, plushly textured sip but gripped by a firm, penetrating frame of tannins. Stunning but a bit unwieldy in youth, it would be best cellared till 2022, but the wine will reward patience.”
The Wine Advocate
December 19, 2019, Joe Czerwinski
“Archetypal Les Bessards, the Delas 2017 Hermitage Les Bessards boasts rich, deep cassis fruit accented by hints of crushed stone and pencil shavings. It’s full-bodied, ripe yet firm, with great energy, freshness and length on the spice-tinged finish. While relatively approachable young, it should age well for up to two decades. Tasted twice (once blind), with one bottle showing more peppery spice, red berries and cured-meat notes.”
December 15, 2019, James Molesworth
“A sleek, mineral-edged version, with black cherry and black currant puree flavors streaming through, laced with singed mesquite notes, a flash of iron and a lingering sanguine echo. Restrained in style but not lacking energy, delivering a nice piercing feel at the very end. Best from 2020 through 2032.”
December 12, 2019, Jeb Dunnuck
“Deeper and richer, the 2017 Hermitage Les Bessards comes from the crazy granitic soils on the western side of Hermitage Hill and spent 12-14 months in new and once-used oak. As with the Domaine des Tourettes, it has a fresh, focused, chiseled style as well as beautiful cassis, crushed rocks, graphite, pen inky, and bloody nuances. Rich, full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, yet tight and closed on the palate, hide bottles for 5-7 years and it should keep for another two decades or more.”
October 12, 2019, James Suckling
“This is set in darker fruit tones with a rich and ripe plum and blackberry core, as well as graphite and sarsaparilla. Some hung meat and suave oak spices. The palate has very vertical, mouth-filling presence and a very bright, clear and vibrant style that delivers a long, sweetly spiced blackberry and black-cherry core. Try from 2025.”
July 18, 2019, Josh Raynolds
“Saturated purple. Deeply perfumed, spice-accented dark fruit liqueur, incense, smoky mineral and pungent floral qualities on the nose, along with hints of olive and licorice. Stains the palate with energetic black/blue fruit, candied violet and savory herb flavors that show impressive depth and are given lift and bite by a snap of juicy acidity and a building peppery element. Clings with impressive tenacity on a sweet, floral-driven finish that’s supported by velvety, slow-building tannins.”
October 31, 2018
“Fermented in concrete and aged for 14 months in new or one-year-old barriques, this wine is aerial and lifted with precisely delineated, resinous blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. It’s not overly full in body, with a bright and vivid, precise, focussed palate showing real drive and thrust. Long, saline and very well balanced. Kapow!”