Big-Time Condrieu & Hermitage Blanc

Since arriving at Delas in 1997, Jacques Granges has become famed for his magnificent red Hermitages, Les Bessards and Domaine des Tourette.

But when gifted Rhône blanc specialist Claire Darnaud joined him as co-winemaker in 2009, Delas soon became known for epic Hermitage Blanc and Condrieu as well.  The only problem is finding them, since so little is made.

But we’ve managed to track down small parcels of two of Delas’ greatest white achievements to date: 2015 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes Blanc and 2014 Condrieu Clos Boucher.

One of the Great Condrieu Terroirs

There’s no secret to why Delas’ 2014 Clos Boucher is one of the vintage’s greatest Condrieus. Its terroir is one of the appellation’s finest—the nearly vertical weathered granite slope at Vérin, adjacent to Château Grillet. Here Darnaud tends the estate’s 50-year-old Viognier vines organically, divided into five distinct plots, harvested in order as each reaches ideal ripeness.

In the cellar, each parcel is fermented and aged in oak barrels specifically tailored to their individual characters, blended with 20% vinified in stainless steel. New oak use is moderate, as is lees-stirring, to allow each lot’s expressiveness to blossom while retaining the beautiful primary aromas, along with complexity and finesse.

The Tourettes Blanc

And Darnaud has pulled out all of the stops in making the 2015 Domaine des Tourettes one of today’s top examples of Hermitage Blanc. A strict selection of the best Marsanne fruit, from Les Grandes Vignes vines planted in 1912 and 65-year-old vines from Bessards, it was fermented with its native yeasts in a mix of new and neutral barrels, and aged ten months on the lees, with moderate battonage for richness and nuance.

With such fanatical attention to detail, applied to perfect fruit from these hallowed sites, it’s little wonder that these wines have taken their place among the region’s elite. But production is small—just 500 cases of the Condrieu and 300 of the Hermitage.

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