Hermitage les Bessards 1997
Winemaking The grapes are picked by hand and yields from the granitic soils are small (less than one ton/acre). After harvest, the grapes are de-stemmed, and each lot is fermented separately in open wooden vats at 82-86° F, with the juice pumped over and the cap punched down daily for 15 days, followed by an additional 15 days of maceration for maximum extraction. The wine is then pressed and racked in preparation for malolactic fermentation. Aging takes place in one- to three-year-old oak barrels for 20 to 24 months. The barrels are regularly topped off and racked every four months to remove yeast sediments. After blending and bottling, the Hermitage Les Bessards rests a minimum of two additional years in-bottle before release. Production: 300 cases
The first release of the Delas Frères Hermitage Les Bessards was from the 1990 vintage. Production from the 50-year old vines is small; only the very best wines in the very best years are used for Les Bessards. The majority are used for the Delas Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette. Parker's review The spectacular 1997 Hermitage Les Bessards is unquestionably one of the vintage's most profound wines. Delas owns 20 acres in what is considered by many to be the finest terroir of Hermitage, Les Bessards. Black/purple colored, with a spectacular crème de cassis, mineral, spicy new wood, and floral-scented nose, this full-bodied blockbuster Hermitage possesses a sweet attack (from concentration, glycerin and extract, not sugar), prodigious concentration and length, and unbelievable potential. This teeth-staining, mouth-coating wine will not hit its prime for 7-10 years, it will last 25 years. Produced from 80 year old vines, it is an amazing accomplishment in a vintage such as 1997! Anticipated maturity: 2006-2025. Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate (30 Oct 1999) 2004 twice & 2007 Dec (decanted for ~2 hours) dark ruby color with amazing nose of floral perfume, plum, cassis, and pepper. the wine is more on the acidity side for my taste.