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They've got the wine

and

They've got the place

 If you’re lucky (and I consider myself to be) you end up walking around the backstreets of a beautiful location where wine is never very far from your thoughts, and this is what happened to me as I trod around the quieter parts of Tain-L'Hermitage.

 The Sunday weather was hot, but not stifling and I decided to see what sort of wine trouble I would get into. I thought that I’d like to take a couple of photographs of the Hermitage (Ermitage as the French are known to say) and found myself in a location where the wall opposite had an old advert for Paul Jaboudet. It was here that I found Delas.

 The Delas Frères wine company was founded back in 1835 and since 1996, the spirit and soul that contributed to its reputation for high quality wines.

 The company's new management has made important investments in the Saint-Jean-de-Muzols production site near Tournon-sur-Rhône and Its highly-motivated team is proud to play its part in the revival of the quality of this venerable Rhône Valley wine company.

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 They grow 30 hectares of vines comprising 10 hectares in the Hermitage AOC, 2 hectares in Saint-Joseph AOC and 18 hectares in Crozes-Hermitage. Delas' close relationships with like-minded owner-wine growers ensures that the company is able to source grapes grown on individual parcels, which reflect their own unique terroir.

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 Their tasting room fit the sort of ultra-modern location that usually thrive in the Napa Valley and is quite a surprise to find down this little Rhone back street.

 It's one of those glass and wood affairs that project business confidence and pride in equal measures. Behind the desk sits a young man who wears a welcoming smile that pacified any thought I had of leaving.

 After agreeing to try five of the wines they were offering for a tasting, I settle myself behind a podium and prepare myself for the onslaught of wines that Delas offer. There was no hint of rush or hurry about this whole process, and the feeling I was getting was one where it felt a pleasure to try their interestingly evocative wines while chatting pleasantly with my host who did his best to represent Delas well!

 And then it was over and I found myself in a relaxing courtyard where I wondered around looking at the interesting architecture and thinking that sometimes fate does play a part in the life of the wine writer.

 The Delas experience certainly made an impression and I know that the next time I visit the Rhone I'll almost certainly be paying them a visit!

The Wines I Tried

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Les Challeys 2021

Saint Joseph

 On the nose I found tight green fruit that will go the distance and provide a richness that could become a stunner when it grows up.

 There's a shake of white pepper to keep your interest before mixing it with hay, minerals and stone fruit that belongs to the peach family.

 As I tasted I found nettle, more minerals and a rich confiture flavour that gave the wine a firmness.

4 out of 7

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Domaine des Tourettes 2020

Hermitage

 Those malolactic crisp green fruits are a great opening act and I find this wine almost related to a Chardonnay. There's a buttery doughy pasty and cream that is very satisfying. I must mention the mint nose that felt like the icing on this particularly tasty cake.

6 out of 7

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Domaine des Grand Chemins 2019

Crozes-Hermitage

 The first word I wrote about this wine was, 'delightful' and at the end I saw no reason to change my opinion because it had all those flavours that make the wines of the Rhone much sought after. Violet and blackcurrant mix quite effortlessly, and the people at Delas must surely know that they've got something good. That hint of pepper is like a distinctive fingerprint that places this wine in this location like an ideal marriage. 

 I did find the black fruit a little reserved and stewed with heat, but those black cherries are going to help this wine to grow into a thing of beauty.

5 out of 7

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Francois de Tournon 2019

Saint Joseph

 This wine isn't waiting for an introduction, and as you lift the glass the spicy pepper is cheeky, forward and insistent. It's not allowed to dominate because there's a host of damson, blackberries and blueberries flavours waiting to welcome you. In case you might find all this overwhelming there's a smooth edge to the wine that will make you smile.

 Taste this and what a big mouthfeel you'll get. The damson continues and dark plums are detected before that liquorice leads out to a tannic ovation.

6 out of 7

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Seigneur de Maugiron 2019

Cote-Rotie

 If the wines of Cote-Rotie don't excite and interest you then you're not doing it right! From a distance there's a delightful black fruit and a wine that is very of the earth. A course of liquorice, hints of oak and a collection of fruit make this a real one for the future. The berries provide a rounded taste with blackcurrant and slightly fizzy pepper leading the way.

 At the end you've got some gently soft tannins that almost tickle.

7 out of 7

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Les Bessards 2018

Hermitage

 I have a theory that when our noble knight went up to his hermitage, he wanted to come down but the wines that were growing effortlessly around him provided the excuse for him to stay up there, and this wine is exhibit one. 

 The nose hits you from some distance, and the varied and numerous dark fruits provide structure, while the candied fruit, dark cherries, meaty bold tannins and pepper make you think about taking a case of three up to the Hermitage! 

7 out of 7

 Fate can play wonderful tricks, and the fact that I found myself at a loose end wandering around while wasting time until a later appointment brought me to the door of this excellent producer. When I stepped through the door of the tasting room I thought it might be a suitable diversion while I waited. What I found was a pleasant host, confident in the potential of wines that grab you by the lapels and demand your attention.

 If you're ever in the area of The Rhone, make sure that you include a visit to Delas on your schedule, and after you've visited, go find a nice cafe and take your time over what beautiful wines your just sampled!