The 2016 Hermitage Les Bessards offers more violets and floral notions with hints of blue fruits (cassis blueberries) full-bodied richness and building sweet polished tannin. It's another ripe opulent 2016 that's going to drink nicely in its youth yet age gracefully given its purity and balance. While a step back from the otherworldly 2015 this brilliant wine is one of the gems in the vintage.
Typically Bessards showing granite smoke and smoky bacon on the nose. It's full but svelte seamless on the palate with exceptionally smooth slatey tannins sufficiently ripe but still fresh and toothsome. Concentrated and inky black fruits sit alongside tea leaf and a touch of cigar tobacco. It's not massive but very well balanced and intense with a long well-tailored finish. This is fairly tannic so give it time. A polished thoroughbred Hermitage. (Drink between 2023-2036)v
Opaque purple. Mineral-accented dark berries candied licorice olive paste exotic spices and pungent flowers on the explosively perfumed nose. Deeply concentrated yet energetic black raspberry spicecake smoked meat and violet pastille flavors are complicated by vibrant mineral and dark chocolate notes that build on the back half. Sweet sappy and sharply delineated on an extremely long floral- and dark-fruit-driven finish that shows superb clarity and steadily building harmonious tannins. Josh Raynolds. Tasting date: March 2019
Fresh and ripe with a delicious mix of blueberry blackberry and cherry fruit flavors that is carried by juicy acidity and backed by fruitcake floral and iron notes through the finish. This has detail and length with the fruit detail echoing wonderfully. Best from 2022 through 2035
The 2016 Hermitage les Bessards is a gorgeous if somewhat easygoing expression of its terroir combining savory notes of asphalt and smoked meat with plum and black raspberries. It shows the classic tannins of its granite bedrock but they're firm rather than hard suggesting this will be approachable relatively early. -Joe Czerwinski