Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

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Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby Jenise » Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:24 pm

I have a lone bottle of 2001 Delas Freres Cote Rotie La Landonne in my cellar. I fished it out of a sale bin some months back priced at $43 based entirely on the vintage and the vineyard.

I've never, however, actually tasted any of their wines.

Today I decided to read up on what I have. And this is what my almost-ancient copy of Parker's Rhone book has to say about this producer: "consistent, fail-safe wines made with a food-processor mentality" and "the Rhone's leading underachiever...in need of a wake-up call." The details are certainly better for the Northern Rhone wines than the Southern Rhones, but still. Food processor mentality? Good grief.

So what does he think nowadays? And where does this winery stand with the rest of the community of Northern Rhone lovers?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby Otto » Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:34 pm

That's maybe a bit harsh. But still, my thought is that they make dependable but unexciting wines.

Here are my note for the Landonne 2001:

28.9.2005: Bacon fat, pepper, spices, earth and a touch of peach on the nose. The palate is rather full bodied, mineral and structured. Fine Côte-Rôtie, typical, and something I'm always happy to drink, but still it's far from the best that I've had from C-R.

Then from 24.1.2006, blind: The nose is rather Côte-Rôtie'ish with lost of peach stone, but bacony fruity. The palate is sturdy and structured, a bit inelegant, but "correct" (if I'm right in my guess of C-R).

-Otto-
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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:47 pm

Jenise wrote:And this is what my almost-ancient copy of Parker's Rhone book has to say about this producer: "consistent, fail-safe wines made with a food-processor mentality" and "the Rhone's leading underachiever...in need of a wake-up call." The details are certainly better for the Northern Rhone wines than the Southern Rhones, but still. Food processor mentality? Good grief.

So what does he think nowadays? And where does this winery stand with the rest of the community of Northern Rhone lovers?


Jenise,
The Pope of Monkton significantly upgraded his assessment of Delas in the mid-to-late-'90s, much as he'd done with Chapoutier when Max handed over the reins to his sons Michel and Marc. I recall him waxing positively ecstatic about several Delas Hermitages a few years ago. I've only had a few of their wines, and my general impression is of decently-made but unexciting juice. Of the N. Rhone negoces, I'd place Jaboulet at the top, with Guigal and Chapoutier a notch below and Delas another notch down. This is of course grossly unfair, as Jaboulet gets the nod for its estate properties and I'm discounting Guigal's LaLas (easy to do for a quercophobe such a myself). Still, in Cote-Rotie especially, certain smaller producers seem to have it all over the negoces.

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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby JoePerry » Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:50 pm

I like 'em when they show up on clearance for $40ish (which they often do). Both the Hermitage and Cote-Rotie are good, though I think the C-R is esteemed higher. They tend to be plumper wines, but express some nice syrah notes.

Obviously not on par with Chave, Jasmin, Faurie, Jamet, etc. but the price is much easier to swallow. They also tend to drink well earlier, I've found.

Best,
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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:40 pm

Jenise, did you know that J L Learthmouth has written a new book, 600 pages.

Bob

PS check your PM please
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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby Lou Kessler » Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:49 pm

I'm sure you'll find it drinkable but not exciting. I would rather own one bottle of Ogier, Jamet, etc than two of Delas Freres.
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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby Tim York » Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:18 am

I have nothing to add about the now decent quality of Delas' wines. Since Parker's original assessment, they have been acquired by the quality champagne house Deutz, which is itself a subsidiary of Roederer of perhaps even greater quality reputation. Champagne house acquisitions have clearly had a beneficial effect on the burgundians Bouchard Père & Fils (Henriot) and on Chanson (Bollinger).

I have recently learned that Jaboulet has been acquired by a finance house, J.J. Frey (who are they?). Will this have a beneficial effect on the quality and prices (QPR) of the wines??
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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:11 am

The accepted opinion is that Delas was poor and got better. I personally haven't found them that much better lately - not had the Cote Rotie, but did try the '01 Crozes Les Launes and found it quite lacking.
On the idea that even poor producers occasionally hit home runs, a 1983 Delas Freres "Marquise de la Tourette" Hermitage outpaced an '83 La Chapelle and '83 Chave at a dinner couple weeks ago (admittedly the Chave might have been a bit off). Nice wine (at least this bottle!).
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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby Jenise » Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:03 pm

Thanks, guys, you helped me put it all in perspective. It probably won't wow me, but it's probably a fair wine for the price. And Lou, you might be relieved to know that I do have Jamet and a Belle Helene from that year, so I won't be without top drops. :)

Say, when I might think about opening a 97 Belle Helene? Anyone had one recently?
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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby MLawton » Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:10 pm

I tasted the 2001 lineup in 2003. They (Hermitage, Cote Rotie and whatever the third one was - Cornas?) all tasted the same, but all tasted like Northern Rhones.

I guess that's better than some negociants, but as several have said - the individual houses make wine that is more to my taste in Cote Rotie than the negociants. I'd say Texier is an exception - his wine isn't really negociant (blended) wine anyway, at least in Cote Rotie - and I'd definitely include Guigal and Vins de Vienne in the negociants that I am not in favor of.
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Re: Opinions on Rhone producer Delas Freres?

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:15 pm

Jenise wrote:Thanks, guys, you helped me put it all in perspective. It probably won't wow me, but it's probably a fair wine for the price. And Lou, you might be relieved to know that I do have Jamet and a Belle Helene from that year, so I won't be without top drops. :)

Say, when I might think about opening a 97 Belle Helene? Anyone had one recently?


I haven't had the Belle Helene from that year, Jenise, but '97 in general was a pretty forward year in the N. Rhone, so I doubt that it'd be a problem to open it soon. If your question is still unanswered tonight, I'll see what JLL has to say in his recent tome.

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