DeLille Cellars Doyenne Aix 2014 | Winemaker Chris Upchurch
93 points WA | The DeLille Cellars Doyenne Aix 2014 is deep ruby black in color from Winemaker Chris Upchurch. Luscious aromas of black raspberry, strawberry in addition to red and black plum with hints of anise, cinnamon, and cocoa. Structured tannins, fresh acidity, bold new French oak, and dark chocolate on the palate with a core of rich black cherry, thyme, and graphite. Drink now-2030.
93 points Vinous | The DeLille Cellars Doyenne Aix 2014 is bright, dark medium ruby. Captivating lavender and underbrush complexity to the aroma of blackberry. A ripe, sweet bomb of raspberry and blackberry fruit, lifted by a peppery quality and complicated by a note of olive tapenade. Plush, broad, utterly seamless blend with terrific concentration and persistence.
92 points Robert Parker Previously labeled as the Doyenne Aix, the name has been changed to simply Doyenne in 2014. The DeLille Cellars Doyenne Aix 2014 is the classic blend of equal parts Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a great nose of toasted spice, black raspberries, currants, lavender and cedar. This gives way to a rounded, sexy, voluptuous and hedonistic red that has moderate acidity, medium to full-bodied richness and a great texture. Drink this sexy red anytime over the coming 7-8 years.
DeLille Cellars the “Lafite-Rothschild of Washington State
Robert Parker Jr. once dubbed DeLille Cellars the “Lafite-Rothschild of Washington State. Winemaker Chris Upchurch is an incredibly gifted winemaker who has crafted over 70 wines earning 93- to 97-point scores from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, and this 2014 Doyenne is one of my favorites. Showing luscious aromas of black raspberry with hints of anise, cinnamon, and cocoa, and a rich palate of black cherry, thyme, and graphite, In addition, the DeLille Cellars Doyenne Aix 2014 goes miles beyond the reach of most wines under $30.
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Not surprisingly, more than a few critics have been buzzing about it. Antonio Galloni’s Vinous awarded the 2014 Doyenne 93 points, while calling it a “plush, broad, utterly seamless blend with terrific concentration and persistence.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast followed up with matching 92-point scores. I’ve secured America’s best price on 56 cases. $29.99 per bottle — 25% off — for as long as they last.
Winemaker Chris Upchurch and Delille Cellars
The story of how Upchurch’s Doyenne came to be is almost as good as the wine itself. In 1995, Upchurch — then a promising young winemaker and partner at DeLille — 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. It was 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. The wine – 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 blend.
Upchurch is a self-professed student in addition to a devotee of the beautifully balanced reds of august Aix-en-Provence wineries like Domaine de Trévallon and Domaine Richeaume. With his 2014 Doyenne, the Evergreen State vigneron may finally have surpassed his idols. Upchurch produces a Syrah-Cabernet blend that’s even richer and in addition shows more balanced delineation between fruit, spice, and structure than much of what can be found under that turquoise Provençal sky.
Syrah from Grand Ciel Vineyard
The 50-50 blend of the 2014 vintage draws from some of the most incredible sites in Washington. The Cabernet hails from Upchurch’s sensational Red Mountain vineyard. Upchurch picks the Syrah from the lavish and densely planted Grand Ciel Vineyard. This is the iconic Ciel du Cheval site (founded in 1972), and Boushey, which produces some of the most sought-after Syrah grapes in the state.
A magnificent wine, full-bodied, deeply concentrated red pays highest respects to Aix-en-Provence. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Vanessa Conlin