Domaine Belle Hermitage 2018
Quite possibly, the best Syrah in the world.
97 points Jeb Dunnuck
A powerful, full-bodied, straight-up awesome wine, the 2018 Hermitage from Domaine Belle comes from the more limestone soils of the Les Murets lieu-dit and spent more than two years in barrel. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by a smorgasbord-like array of kirsch, jammy blackberries, acacia flowers, violets, ground pepper, and cured meats. With full-bodied richness, a rich, opulent, incredibly sexy texture, sweet tannins, and a great finish, we're in blockbuster territory, and along with the 2017, it's the finest Hermitage I've tasted from this domaine. It has another 20 years (probably longer) of prime drinking.
96+ points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Another tremendous effort from the Belle family, the 2018 Hermitage originates from parcels in Les Murets and Péléat. Inky purple, it offers up hints of smoked meat and toasty oak but backs those with waves of intense mixed berries and black olives, plus notes of licorice. Full-bodied, concentrated and powerful, it reveals amazing length on the finish, where notes of crushed stone and licorice provide an invigorating sense of freshness. (JC) (5/2021)
The roots of the Belle family run deep in Hermitage and extend back to the 18th century when the family began acquiring vines in the region. When descendant Louis Belle assumed control of the property, he preferred tending vines over making wine. In 1933, he became one of the founding members of the Cave de Tain, the local cooperative. It was not until 2003 when grandson Philippe began making wines for the domaine. The property has 25 hectares of vines planted across Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage and St-Joseph, along with apricot orchards and a vine nursery tended by Philippe's brother, Jean-Claude. The vineyards were certified organic in 2014. The Hermitage comes from two primary parcels in the lieux-dits of Murets and Diognières. Both are known for their mix of clay-limestone and alluvial soils. Fermented in stainless steel, there is no destemming and all indigenous yeasts are used. After fermentation the wine ages for 24 months in about 50/50 new and 1-year-old barriques. A serious wine from a producer that is working at the top of their game.