Delas Freres was founded in the 19th century in the northern Cotes du Rhone, in France’s Rhone Valley. In 1977 the estate was purchased by Champagne Deutz, which was itself purchased in 1993 by Louis Roederer. Today the estate makes a wide range of wines from the northern and southern parts of the Rhone Valley. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that “Delas has joined the ranks of the finest Rhone valley producers. The impetus for the change is Jacques Grange, a Burgundian who worked with Michel Chapoutier before joining Delas.” Delas produces Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Condrieu, Cornas, Cote Rotie, Gigondas, Hermitage, Vacqueyras and Viognier. The most acclaimed cuvee is the Hermitage Les Bessards made from 70-year-old Syrah vines.
The Northern Rhône Valley wine region hugs the Rhône River from Vienne in the north to Valence at its southern tip. The French call the region Côtes du Rhône Septentrionales, and it is divided into eight appellations. Along with its neighbor to the south, the Southern Rhone Valley, it is famous for its big, tannic, intensely concentrated wines. Syrah is the only red grape permitted in AOC wines from this sub-region, though the Syrah can be blended with the white wine grapes Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne, depending on the regulations for each AOC. White wines are made from Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Of the eight appellations in the north, the most admired wines tend to come from Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Hermitage, though there are certainly exceptional wines to be found in St. Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, St.-Peray, Crozes-Hermitage and Cornas. Along with Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, Rhône wines are among France’s best known and most collected wines. Red wines from these appellations are notable for their signature aromas of bacon and green olives, and for their depth. Robert M. Parker, a great champion of Rhone wines, has written that “the northern Rhône produces three of the greatest wines in the world – the white wines of Condrieu and the red wines of Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage.”
This is a full-bodied white variety has plenty of natural aromatics such as peach and violets. It’s a low yielding fruit, so it is grown for its taste over its economics. Viognier is considered an ancient grape and an early favorite of the Roman emperors.