In a short amount of time Delmas has established itself as not only of the premier Washington Syrahs, but truly one of the top Syrah bottlings in North America. I have been overwhelmed with the quality of these wines since I first tasted them roughly five years back. Despite having the obvious pressure of making one wine each year, Delmas has delivered incredible quality and range of aromatics and flavors to its wine every vintage. The quality in the bottle continues to build as this esteemed winery is truly one to watch.
Proprietors Steve and Mary Robertson are some of the great folks in Washington wine. Originally from the Napa Valley area, the Robertsons planted their SJR vineyard more than a decade ago and have cultivated the SJR into one of the top vineyards in the state. Their daughter, Brooke Robertson, expertly manages the SJR Vineyard. With superstar winemaker, Billo Navarane, MW, at the helm, Delmas have reached the upper echelon of Washington wines.
I recently had the great opportunity to meet with Billo and the Robertsons during a rare Delmas vertical tasting, starting with their first vintage in 2010. I was very intrigued by their individual tasting notes of the wines, and their perspectives of each vintage. Needless to say I was blown away with how these Syrahs were currently showing. One of the great delights was the 2010 Delmas Syrah (WWB, 95) which had marvelous weight and a downright sexy nose that made it nearly impossible to leave the glass. Their success in this generally challenging vintage for Washington wines shows the aging potential (particularly in colder vintages) of these Rocks AVA wines. The 2012 vintage to the new vintage, 2016 shared many common threads. As the level of Viognier increased, the even more gorgeous, lifted, feminine qualities of the wine began to show brightly. While the stony character remained, the increased Viognier really showed how beautifully that varietal grows at the SJR Vineyard. I rated wines from 2012-2016 all 96 points. Not yet released, the 2016 Delmas Syrah (WWB, 96) is one of the best Washington Syrahs that I have sampled in the past year. Incredibly complex, with insane range, weight and tension, this one of a kind wine will cellar well over the next decade. . . but why wait? I also tried the new barrel sample of the 2017 Delmas Syrah (WWB, 96-98) which is a bit tightly wound but will evolve into a profound wine once in the bottle. It was a truly memorable evening spent with the masterminds behind Delmas — a wine that is a must have for serious collectors of great Washington wine. Learn more about this fantastic winery at https://delmaswines.com Here are my tasting notes from my Delmas vertical tasting.
2010 Delmas Syrah- Co-fermented with 4% Viognier, this stunning wine has 3% Grenache blended in. I find it remarkable how well this wine is currently showing considering the challenges of the vintage and age of the wine. The 2010 Delmas begins with deep aromas of Hoisin sauce, lavender, bing cherry preserves and smoked meats. The seductive aromatics bring you back to the glass for more. Silky smooth on the mid-palate, the wine reveals a silky mouthfeel and wonderful texture. The combination of citrus rind and red currant really grabs your attention on the palate. Black truffle crudo, Mandarin orange rind, cigar shavings and Hoisin sauce flavors all come together marvelously in the glass. Drink 2018-2028- 95
2011 Delmas Syrah- This was co-fermented with 4% Viognier and has 2% Grenache blended in. The nose here is distinctly feminine with guava, red currant, red cherry preserves and star jasmine with lighter wet stone elements. The floral notes on the nose really shining nicely right now. The wine is delicate and lithe, showing wonderful minerality and a silky texture. Roasted date, red currant jelly and red cherry candy flavors with orange rind mingle nicely. This does not have the weight of the 2010 but possesses a wonderful elegance. Drink 2018-2024- 93
2012 Delmas Syrah- The 2012 Delmas Syrah was co-fermented with a higher percentage of Viognier, 7.5%. This was the first vintage that Delmas did not include any of their estate Grenache. The nose here is downright intoxicating with cassis, Hoisin sauce, wet stone, cigar ash and horse manure. There is an incredible purity of fruit with this wine. The texture is simply stunning as the wine reveals wild blackberry sauce, black raspberry cordial, wet stone, black truffle oil and Umami. This Syrah is simply impossible to put down. There is still a long life for this fantastic Delmas wine but it is nearly impossible to resist right now. Drink 2018-2026- 96
2013 Delmas Syrah- 2013 was the the first vintage that the Delmas Syrah underwent 50% whole cluster fermentation. The wine was co-fermented with 8.1 % Viognier. This stunning wine has head-turning aromas of horse manure, bacon fat, red cherry cordial, Umami, seaweed and green olive tapenade. The intoxicating range of aromas bring you back to the glass for more. The palate is both rich and lithe, showing off an incredible mouthfeel. Remarkably blueberry compote and creme de cassis flavors invade the mouth, combining with bacon fat, smoked pork shoulder, blood orange rind, creosote and cigar box flavors. Seductive, intense and literally thrilling right now, this Syrah will age gracefully over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 96
2014 Delmas Syrah-This great Syrah underwent 50% whole cluster fermentation and saw a 8.3% Viognier co-ferment. This was also the first year the Syrah clone 470 was utilized in the blend with the Phelps clone. Intense and powerful on the nose, the Syrah shows an exotic bouquet of Asian spice, Hoisin sauce, horse manure, Umami and green olive tapenade. The aromatic range here is intoxicating. As the wine builds in the glass it is intriguing that the wine reveals subtle hints of lavender since there is an abundance of lavender planted at the SJR Vineyard. The horse manure aspect on the nose is also quite distinctive. The mouthfeel is outstanding and rich, as the wine shows off Hoisin sauce, wild blackberry preserves, peat moss, with a touch of milk chocolate. Showing more of a masculine edge, this hot vintage wine is a complete show-stopper. Drink 2018-2028- 96
2015 Delmas Syrah- Co-fermented with 8.5% Viognier, this is a stunning wine by Delmas. The Syrah opens with an incredible nose of rose petals, red cherry candy, guava puree, and lavender with lighter peat moss and horse manure aromatics playing second fiddle. The palate is lifted, currently showcasing a more feminine portrayal in the glass. Red currant, red cherry, peat moss, black truffle crudo and wet stone flavors all beautifully build after some air. The bright acidity here is at the forefront which is remarkable despite the obvious heat spikes experienced in the Walla Walla Rocks AVA. The high percentage of Viognier gives this amazing wine added lift. This is impossible to resist right now. Drink 2018-2028- 96
2016 Delmas Syrah- Following up the stunning 2015 bottling, the 2016 Delmas Syrah is a head-turning wine that takes its seat at the high table in Washington Syrah. The Syrah connected with 7.25% Viognier in the co-ferment and saw limited new oak prior to bottling. Straight out of the glass, the wine exudes heady aromas of red currant jelly, cigar ash, blood orange rind, horse manure, crushed wet gravel and Asian spices. This stunning nose brings you back to the glass for more pleasure. The palate is silky smooth and seductive. Cran-pomegranate, Mandarin orange, red cherry candy, peat moss and Umami flavors round out the palate. This has incredible range, precision, purity and focus. A heavyhitter of a wine, this lifted and stunning Syrah by superstar winemaker, Billo Naravane, will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2018-2028- 96
2017 Delmas Syrah (Barrel Sample)- 96-98