Even better and one of the top two to three wines in the vintage, the 2011 Hermitage Les Bessards (100% Syrah that spent 16 months in 70% new French oak) possesses an inky purple color to go with a fabulously rich, pure bouquet of smoked earth, ground pepper, underbrush and licorice that’s supported by awesome black raspberry and cassis-styled fruit. Full-bodied, seamless and layered, with masses of sweet tannin and notable structure, this beauty bucks the vintage stereotype and will need short-term cellaring to become approachable. It will have 2-3 decades of longevity. Run by Jacques Grange and Claire Darnaud, Delas, which is owned by the Louis Roederer-Deutz Champagne firm, is producing no nonsense, extremely high quality efforts that are near the top of each of their respective appellations. I was consistently impressed by the wines, and they stood out in all of the larger tastings that I was able to do. In addition, I was able to taste the wines again at the domain, and again once back in the states. These are serious efforts worthy of attention. As to the Hermitages, they produce two, a standard Domaine des Tourettes, and in top vintages, the Les Bessards. (JD)
A dark, muscular, slightly rugged style, with chunky-edged grip supporting loam, bittersweet cocoa, steeped black currant and charcoal notes, with buried acidity emerging on the finish. This should be tamed by cellaring as the smoldering edge settles into the background. Best from 2016 through 2026.
Opaque ruby. Potent blackberry, cherry-cola, licorice and mineral scents pick up a peppery quality with aeration, as well as notes of dark chocolate and pungent herbs. Shows excellent depth and energy in the mouth, offering sweet dark fruit and mocha flavors that are underscored and lifted by tangy acidity. The floral and mineral notes energize the incisive finish, which features supple tannins and a touch of fruitcake.
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