Robert Parker 92-94
Another dense, backwards, unevolved barrel sample that was difficult to wrap my head around was the 2014 Hermitage Les Bessards (aging in 30% new French oak); it has lots of leesy notes in its black raspberry, saddle leather, wild flower and earthy, mineral-driven bouquet. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated, yet tannic and structured, it will be interesting to see how this comes together once in bottle. Winemaker Jacques Granges continues to make a number of terrific wines from throughout the Rhône Valley. All of the 2013s showed nicely and possess the fresher, more focused, yet concentrated style of the vintage. The top wines have tons of potential and will reward cellaring. The 2014 reds and whites are both solid as well. I find some push too far towards the leaner end of the spectrum (especially with the whites), but there’s still plenty to love, and the wines have beautiful purity and freshness. As a whole, you can’t go wrong with this estate and the quality is incredibly high, as well as consistent across the entire range. Also, while the style here leans towards the more modern end of the paradigm, with almost complete destemming and aging in varying amounts of new oak, the percentage of new oak continues to be walked back and the wines always show textbook appellation characteristics. In addition, readers should check out the recent domaine profile and retrospective published on eRobertParker.com earlier this year.
Dark purple. A powerful, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe black and blue fruits, candied licorice, olive paste, exotic spices and incense and shows a vibrant mineral overtone. Stains the palate with intense blackberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors that deepen and pick up a sexy floral element with air. Shows a compelling marriage of richness and finesse and finishes extremely long, sappy and sweet, with youthful tannins adding framework.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2030