SEVENTY-plus wines for DeLille that have garnered 93- to 97-point scores from Wine Advocate.
In 1995, Chris Upchurch — a promising young winemaker and partner at DeLille Cellars — met the future love of his life, Thea. When Chris flew to France a few days later, he jotted off a postcard to his new sweetheart, inscribed with a quote from a Bob Marley song: “If you feel it, you know it.”
Six years later, wedding bells were ringing. The morning of their marriage, Chris decided on a whim to craft a Syrah-Cabernet blend to pour at dinner — a classic Provençal red that the couple had fallen in love with during a trip to Aix-en-Provence. When he took his bride’s hands that afternoon, his own were stained purple-red.
That first maritally-inspired batch became Upchurch’s signature Doyenne Aix blend, one among the SEVENTY-plus wines for DeLille that have garnered 93- to 97-point scores from Wine Advocate. In Washington’s banner 2013 growing season — a vintage which Parker’s publication described as “terrific” for DeLille, producing an “elegant, streamlined style” — Upchurch may have released his finest version yet. Both Stephen Tanzer at Vinous and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate went nuts for the bottle, lobbing on a pair of rave 93-point scores.
Incidentally, both reviews also noted the remarkable resemblance of the rippling, ultra-concentrated Washington wine to some of the greatest releases from Southern France, with Tanzer remarking: “I’d love to slip this wine into a blind tasting with some cult reds from the Languedoc.”
Upchurch is a self-professed student and devotee of the beautifully balanced reds of august Aix-en-Provence wineries like Domaine de Trévallon and Domaine Richeaume. Known best for bone-dry rosés, the region’s wineries also produce some of the most distinctive and alluring red blends in Southern France.
The soils there are a mix of clay and limestone, not unlike Vosne-Romanée. At up to 1,640 feet in elevation, old vines bask in the Provençal sun, energized by the cooling, cleansing power of the Mistral breeze. Grand Cru protocol — reducing cane length, drastically trimming yields — make for exquisite viticultural gardens, and wines that drive guys like Upchurch to distraction trying to reproduce them.
But with today’s offer, the Evergreen State vigneron may finally have surpassed his idols, producing a Syrah-Cabernet blend that’s even richer and more opulently delineated than much of what can be found under that turquoise Provençal sky.
The 60-40 blend of the 2013 vintage was drawn from four incredible sites in Washington. The Cabernet hails from Upchurch’s own vineyard, a sensational 18.5-acre Red Mountain vineyard. The Syrah was picked from the lavish and densely planted Grand Ciel Vineyard, the iconic Ciel du Cheval site (founded in 1972), and Boushey, which produces some of the most sought-after Syrah grapes in the state.
Upchurch’s release blew the socks off the critics, pulling down 93 points from Parker’s Wine Advocate, which praised it as showing a “fabulous bouquet … full-bodied, concentrated, even unctuous.” At Vinous, Tanzer called it “wonderfully silky and sweet but with terrific acidity,” lobbing on 93 points of his own for “this very successful blend (that) boasts superb fruit.”
The 2013 DeLille Cellars Doyenne Aix Red Mountain is dazzling ruby-red. Infused with gorgeous aromas of inky black cherry and blackberry preserves, the attack is at once rich and elegant, packed with dark-red-fruit preserves and licorice, braced with stunning, cool vintage backbone. Finishes with sneaky, dusty Red Mountain tannins. This 2013 has powerful structure and complexity, and will put on weight over the course of the next decade. Drink now-2027.
This is a magnificent wine, and one of our personal favorites. DeLille set aside the last 190 cases for WineAccess. Matching full-throated 93-point scores from the top critics in the business. A full-bodied, deeply concentrated red paying highest respects to Aix-en-Provence.
excellent value. Lush, full of fruit, but well structured. great wine with a grilled steak.
Rich and layered.
Lovely blend! I can't wait to hold a couple of bottles and try it again in a year or two!
One bottle was corked, but the others were good red mountain wine.
Have always enjoyed DeLille wines and this one is no exception. Decanting for an hour or so helped alot
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