2018 Delas Hermitage Lieu Dit Ligne de Crete Les Grandes Vignes
Beginning with the 2015 vintage, Delas have introduced a new wine in the range from the hill of Hermitage made exclusively from the "Les Grandes Vignes" lieu-dit. Situated above L'Ermite and just east of the chapel at the peak of the Hermitage hillside at around 325m altitude, this south-facing plot forms an amphitheatre of semicircular vine terraces planted to Syrah. Winemaking is sensitive to retain the finesse and subtlety of this vineyard, with the grapes completely destemmed before being transferred by gravity to stainless steel vats for alcoholic fermentation. The wine is then transferred to barrel for malolactic fermentation and 20 months elevage. The barrels used are fine grained and no more than 30-40% are new. In a good year production is limited to only 1,800 to 2,000 bottles.
While I've had multiple looks at previous vintages, this is my first review of the 2018 Hermitage Ligne de Crete Les Grandes Vignes. Inky in hue, it boasts powerful, brooding aromas that include hints of hardwood charcoal, dark berries, licorice, crushed stone and pencil shavings. Full-bodied and almost painfully intense, it's a huge, mouthfilling wine that seems capable of aging up to three decades. Rich, supple and creamy in texture, yet possessing remarkable length and retronasal nuance, it has to rank up there with some of the Hermitage hill's classics from other, more renowned producers. It certainly deserves a seat at that table and may be a candidate for a perfect score in the future. Drink 2025 - 2050.
Joe Czerwinski - Wine Advocate (May 2021)
The vibrancy of the elderberry aroma on the nose of this Hermitage masterpiece is breathtaking, the palate amazingly concentrated and incredibly focused. A wealth of super-fine tannins and intense, stony minerality are married to the pure berry fruit at the extremely long and precise finish. The fourth vintage of this wine and one of the high points of 2018 in the Rhone! Drink or hold.
I was also able to taste a small vertical of the Hermitage Les Grandes Vignes from this estate for this report. Certainly the biggest, richest wine in the lineup, the 2018 Hermitage Les Grandes Vignes has a vivid purple hue as well as sensational notes of blueberries, cassis, violets, crushed stone, spring flowers, and camphor. It's full-bodied and flawlessly balanced, with ripe, silky tannins and an incredible finish. It's already offering pleasure today yet has another 25+ years of longevity ahead of it. Easily my favorite in the lineup, this incredible Hermitage is going to flirt with perfection at maturity. Drink 2022 - 2048.