Syrah wine is great red to drink, and for you to enjoy. Delas Brothers are one old-established maker. Try some syrah soon.

The historic French home of syrah is in this Rhone Valley and here we are visiting the property Delas Freres (brothers) having made wine there since 1835.

They are found alongside the wide and surging river at the plane tree-lined Tournon village on the left Rhone bank in the Appellation Saint Joseph.

On the right bank directly across the river is the companion town of Tain l’Hermitage, with the Appellations Crozes-Hermitage and Hermitage dominated with syrah vines.

Syrah on terraces-no tractors - horses or by hand

Syrah on terraces – no tractors – horses or by hand

Synonyms for syrah include hermitage and shiraz (the Australians use the latter).

Our France wine tours  take guests through the Appellations of the Rhone Valley, north and south,  offering introduction-only visits to wineries, only some open to the public.  If you’d like to find out more about this exclusive guided experience for lovers of wine and food, you can call me direct on +61 427 705 391 or email

Our coach driver, a local, French, closes on this large river, dreadfully in flood, the swirling waters are 50 centimetres below its banks. See my quick video from the bus.

Rhone River floods

The next stop is on that western side (left bank), crossing the brown torrent sweeping downstream from spring rains in the Jura and Switzerland.

Our host, red-headed, a Rhône man, smiling, patiently waits our arriving bus outside the Delas Brothers cellar beneath a vine-clad cliff face. Meet Bruno Gonnet.

Bruno produces a row of bottles. They are all syrah, from this well-travelled grape known here since the Crusaders defended the Holy Land.

The progressive tasting goes: Crozes-Hermitage (right bank), Saint-Joseph (left), Cornas (left), Côte-Rôtie (left), Hermitage (right) wines, all differing parcels (sub-regions), differing qualities, and thankfully from one year, 2013.

Delas have 40 hectares of these vineyards; note the cute vineyard names attached to the tasting notes below.

Delas Domaine des Grands Chemin Crozes-Hermitage 2013 is one of those go to reds to get familiar with grape chunkiness. Distinctively whiffing of roasting meat, a sure smell sign of the enrichment from severe summer temperatures late in the ripening.

Delas Francois de Tournon Saint Joseph 2013 gives more fruit earthiness and less meatiness despite being nearby riverwise. The fact some vines sit on higher terraces whereas Crozes is the flats seems to make aroma differences. Palate is solid.

Delas Chante-Perdrix Cornas 2013 is from a small region further south. A more rounded wine giving heaps of rich taste feelings, pepper hot, earth-ripe, oak dries the mouth but is not tastable.

Delas Chante-Perdrix Cornas 2013 syrah

Delas Chante-Perdrix Cornas 2013 syrah

Delas Seigneur de Maugiron Cote-Rotie 2013 is exceptional, ground breaking syrah. Subtle smells then concentration power, those grapes are taut but expressive. The fineness of palate belies the fact this is syrah and should make a monster impression. It does not. Flavours of pepper, black fruits and earth unwind this wine.

Delas Seigneur de Maugiron Cote-Rotie 2013 syrah

Delas Seigneur de Maugiron Cote-Rotie 2013 syrah

This appellation repeatedly gives wines with finesse and elegance which defeat the perception that syrah has monster body. This is silk finish with the big flavours around my mouth. Hermitage wine typically has larger body.

Delas Domaine des Tourettes Hermitage 2013 syrah

Delas Domaine des Tourettes Hermitage 2013 syrah

Delas Domaine des Tourettes Hermitage 2013 is really lovely wine but as said, is a bigger wine. The pink flowers and violets are accentuated by the longer time in new barrel, oak gives sweetness and a lift to a mouthful of syrah power. Keep tasting the wine and it stays generous.

Hermitage vineyards provide wines worthy of a great experience. For Australian shiraz lovers put this place of production on your bucket list. Then when standing at the foot of the hill you will understand why it tastes how it tastes.

To visit these great wineries of the Rhone in 2017 read more here


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