2018 Delas Cotes du Rhone “Saint Esprit”
Rarely do I get a $10 wine this good.
This is Delas Cotes du Rhone “Saint Esprit.”
A Cotes du Rhone like this is just outstanding. It’s full of fruit character you would expect of the Rhone: red and black fruits, richness, concentration, and more—garrigue, touches of barnyard, complexity and depth of character, and a structural, long-lasting finish. I believe this “little” wine could go for a decade or more and just get better and better.
But as you know, what really turns me on is value, and this hits it in every sense of the word – its $9.99. I used it in a blind wine-guessing game recently where the final question was “is it $60, or $10?” And everyone guessed $60. And THAT was a group of wine professionals. Yet I am guessing you think this deal is too good to be true – $60 wine for $10 . So here is the background:
The wine company Delas Freres was founded in 1835 to great fanfare in the northern Rhone. High-quality wines were produced, and the company expanded up and down the Rhone River, from Cote Rotie to Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
But, as things go, the brothers (Freres) eventually passed on their company, and for many years, the wine, and business, was good. But, history and time took its toll (and one emperor of France, two world wars, among various other crises) and by the late 1970s, much of the good work being done at Delas was a distant memory. That is when the current Freres asked for help – they turned to their commercial export partner for advice and financial support for the fading family business.
And support they received. Starting in 1977 and continuing to present day, Champagne house Roederer – the only remaining independently owned Champagne house – invested in and revived Delas. Their support through nearly the last 50 years has brought Delas to the forefront of Rhone wines, and that shows in this amazing Cotes du Rhone:
Based on Syrah, this Cotes du Rhone shows its 100-point Hermitage driven roots. But let’s not get fussy -– it’s as utterly delectable as it intellectually pleasurable. It teases the brain while flexing the brawn. Saint Esprit brings the freshness, complexity, strength and depth to the wine. It’s a tremendous blend that develops in layers. On top: violets, raspberries, wildflowers and Bing cherries. On the lower spectrum hints of black pepper, smoked meat and barnyard (but all in the nicest possible interpretation). On the palate the power and generosity of Syrah – a richness of blackberries and blueberries right down the center of the palate creating a will structured appeal but with an open and charming texture. It’s from 2018, so a bit tight now, but three months is going to work wonders. It can also be rewardingly tucked away for at least a decade.