Vibrance at Delas

The 2013 Hermitage, Cornas, Condrieu and more from Delas are just starting to shine
Nov 17, 2014

Delas is a fairly regular stop when I am in the Northern Rhône; you can reference background on the domaine starting with my November 2013 blog post.

"The wines were tough right after the vinification—tight, hard. But now the middles have filled in, the tannins have gone into the wine and the acidity is along the edges," said Delas' amiable Jacques Grange of the 2013s. "The élevage has really lengthened them, while the aromas have become so expressive," he added, basically beaming (which for the restrained Grange is a wry smile).

Working with Grange is Claire Darnaud-McKerrow, who said of 2013, "We picked until the 17th of October, and there was no rush at the end either. But we didn't want to wait any longer because the tannins were present and ripe, but not too ripe. The longer you wait, the more the jammy quality comes, and that's not what we're looking for. And now we have wines that have lots of fruit, but explosive aromas. They are so vibrant."

The 2013 Crozes-Hermitage Les Launes sees no oak and it delivers lovely pastis, boysenberry and mesquite notes with a long and refined finish. The 2013 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine des Grand Chemins is richer and fuller feel (30 percent oak) with dark roasted plum and blackberry fruit and a nice alder spine on the finish. The 2013 Crozes-Hermitage Le Clos has vivid boysenberry and raspberry fruit loaded with anise and graphite and carrying through a long and racy finish.

The 2013 St.-Joseph Les Challeys is also vivid, with blackberry and plum notes coursing with anise and juniper hints and backed by a sanguine echo. The 2013 St.-Joseph François de Tournon is the biggest of the three St.-Jos, packed with fig, boysenberry and blackberry paste flavors, backed by a bolt of graphite. The 2013 St.-Joseph Ste.-Epine is the most suave of the three, loaded with red, blue and purple fruits, brimming with energetic spice and racy graphite notes.

The 2013 Cornas Les Perdrix is brambly, with dark olive and bay, but no shortage of sappy kirsch and boysenberry fruit. The 2013 Côte-Rôtie Seigneur de Maugiron has a brooding edge, with dark olive and bay notes clamping down on the core of fruit, but it's well-endowed, with currant and fig notes waiting in reserve and a lovely charcoal hint on the finish. The 2013 Côte-Rôtie La Landonne is tight and focused, with alder and juniper notes framing dense black currant and black cherry. The long finish smolders with a singed iron note; this will be a vin de garde for sure.

The 2013 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes is dense, with a terrific core of plum, black currant and fig laced with loam, warm ganache and smoldering charcoal. It has some serious structure, but it's fine-grained and well-embedded. The 2013 Hermitage Les Bessards has layers and layers of velvety plum sauce, melted black licorice and boysenberry pâte de fruit with dense, loamy structure on the finish, all framed with a gorgeous bittersweet cocoa note.

For the whites, the 2013 Crozes-Hermitage White Les Launes is very floral, with a honeysuckle note draped over gentle green almond and green plum flavors. The 2013 St.-Joseph White Les Challeys has a nice juicy edge, with a mirabelle note harnessing pear and yellow apple flavors. The 2013 Hermitage White Domaine des Tourettes is restrained, but wait—there are fireworks to come, as mirabelle, green plum and creamed yellow apple is in reserve, with lilting verbena, orange blossom and chamomile notes weaving around.

The 2013 Condrieu La Galopine is bright and juicy, with a little crunchy edge that should soften quickly after the bottling while green almond, white peach and anise notes blossom. The 2013 Condrieu Clos Boucher is fuller in feel, with more pear and yellow apple, but a backdrop of mirabelle and anise keeps it honest. It's flattering, but without sacrificing definition.

France Rhône Valley Northern Rhône

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