100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"Every bit as profound as the 2010, yet in a more voluptuous, lower acid, hedonistic style, the inky colored 2009 Hermitage les Bessards (aged all in new French oak) offers incredible intensity and depth in its black raspberry, toasted bread, graphite and spice-like aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, massively endowed and with a wealth of raw material, it has high, yet sweet tannin and a finish that just won't quit. Give it 4-5 years and drink it over the following 3-4 decades. Unfortunately, this is made in tiny quantities, but count yourself lucky if you were able to grab a few bottles of either the '09 or '10."
***** John Livingstone-Learmonth
"mid-slope - granite, some clay, oldest Syrah 1946, part re-planted 2007 (crop in Tourettes for now), destemmed, cold maceration then 20 day vinification, cap punching, pumping overs, aged 30-70% new (2015 new = 30%, a decline), 30-70% 1-year 228-litre oak casks 18-20 months, first wine 1990, filtered, first wine 1990, 4-10,500 b
dark, black-tinted robe. Drifting black berry fruit air, licorice and implied herbs, graphite. Smoke-oak, tar infused in rich black fruit on palate, has a chugging density. A shade one-dimensional, needs time to open, but above all vary, step up a gear and break out. Decant this. The aftertaste is rich – there is variety at that stage in the form of plum, sweet herbs, laurel. 14°. I find it more southern and fleshy than the grippy Bessards straight off the granite that is usual..."
Vinous Reverie 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. 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, a large amount by Rhone standards. This cuvee 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 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, Meal, 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. 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. Tasting Notes: A brilliant, deep red hue with lots of depth. The nose show great class, with soft aromas of blackberries, violets, and black olives on a light smoky touch. 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 meat, game cooked rare or medium, marinated meat and spicy stews. It is recommended you open the bottle one to three hours before drinking.