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Domaine Alain Graillot

Brilliant Syrah from a “Touchstone Producer of Crozes-Hermitage.”
Domaine Alain Graillot
“Domaine Alain Graillot’s Crozes-Hermitage has long been a benchmark wine for the region. Thanks to worldwide distribution, starting in the mid- to late-1980s, it was, for many wine lovers, an introduction to the wines of the Northern Rhône and Syrah in general... Happily, his sons, Maxime and Antoine, who have been at the domaine’s helm since 2008, have not missed a beat regarding maintaining quality and the estate’s reputation.” Josh Raynolds, Vinous

Those words from the late Josh Raynolds serve as a fitting introduction for those unfamiliar with this great estate. It is the highest-rated domaine in Crozes, with two stars against its name in France’s leading wine guide, La Revue du Vin de France’s Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France. This reaffirms the brilliant work done by Maxime before and after Alain’s passing in 2022. 

With vines aged between 40 and 50 years on average, the Graillot terroirs are firing on all cylinders. Organically managed, gnarled and meticulously manicured vines reach up from a sea of smooth, rolled stones like the hands of an old vigneron. They are rooted on the Terrasse des Chassis in Pont-de-l’Isère, where the ‘soil’ was formed by ancient alluvial deposits of sand, gravel and river stones.

Today, we offer the truly excellent 2021 Crozes-Hermitage (including a limited number of magnums). Such hyperbole may sound surprising if you consider that the Estate Crozes this year comes from the tiny, challenging 2021 vintage. Like much of France that year, the northern Rhône faced late spring frosts, mildew pressure and raging storms throughout the growing season and harvest. Yet despite these challenges, Maxime Graillot has knocked it out of the park by crafting a beautiful, cool-fruited and finely etched Syrah from 2021, with pretty red fruits, moderate alcohol and juicy, refreshing acidity. It’s the kind of wine that might remind you of the finest northern Rhônes of yesteryear: fresh, juicy, savoury, and so, so delicious. It also calls to mind something Alain Graillot used to say: “The vintage changes, but the spirit remains the same.” 
 
In sum, this great release allows us to reiterate what we suggested last year: Maxime Graillot is currently crafting the finest wines of his career and, in our not-so-humble opinion, the finest wines ever, chez Domaine Alain Graillot.

The Wine

Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2021

Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2021

Now with two stars in France’s leading wine guide, Revue du Vin de France’s Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France, this is the highest-rated Crozes domaine and reaffirms the great work being done by Maxime Graillot. With vines aged between 40 and 50 years on average, the Graillot terroirs are firing on all cylinders. Organically managed, gnarled and meticulously manicured vines reach up from a sea of smooth, rolled stones like the hands of an old vigneron. They are rooted on the Terrasse des Chassis in Pont-de-l’Isère, where the ‘soil’ was formed by ancient alluvial deposits of sand, gravel and river stones.

The organically farmed grapes were loaded (crushed without destemming) into lined concrete vats for a two- to five-day pre-ferment maceration. After natural fermentation, the wine was aged in used François Frères barriques (between one and seven years old) purchased from some of the finest estates in Burgundy. Since the 2011 vintage, 20-hectolitre Stockinger ovals have also begun to play a quiet yet growing role.

The notes below point to what a successful wine this is: the cream always rises to the top! It’s already bursting with charismatic plum, anise and rose petal flavours and a twist of nettle from the stems. The palate is refined, juicy, super-fresh and seriously complex. A joy to drink, it will continue to improve for a decade or two, even if it is lovely drinking now. A great restaurant vintage, if ever there was one!

“A very pure and floral nose with cherries, violets and plums as well. Medium body with velvety tannins and bright acidity. Such a succulent core of redcurrants and violets with minerality and a transparent character to the focused finish. Drink or hold.”
94 points, James Suckling
“Really alert, vivacious bouquet, a basket full of black cherries, hints of mulberry, licorice. The palate rocks, offers instant and pleasing dark berry fruit with a nudge of sweetness, holds slightly furry tannins for now. There is a cool thread through it, which works very well in its lift and freedom. The aftertaste has a note of cherry stone, black olives, a herbal tone from the inclusion of the stems.”
John Livingstone-Learmonth, DrinkRhone.com
Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2021
Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2021 (1500ml)

Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2021 (1500ml)

Now with two stars in France’s leading wine guide, Revue du Vin de France’s Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France, this is the highest-rated Crozes domaine and reaffirms the great work being done by Maxime Graillot. With vines aged between 40 and 50 years on average, the Graillot terroirs are firing on all cylinders. Organically managed, gnarled and meticulously manicured vines reach up from a sea of smooth, rolled stones like the hands of an old vigneron. They are rooted on the Terrasse des Chassis in Pont-de-l’Isère, where the ‘soil’ was formed by ancient alluvial deposits of sand, gravel and river stones.

The organically farmed grapes were loaded (crushed without destemming) into lined concrete vats for a two- to five-day pre-ferment maceration. After natural fermentation, the wine was aged in used François Frères barriques (between one and seven years old) purchased from some of the finest estates in Burgundy. Since the 2011 vintage, 20-hectolitre Stockinger ovals have also begun to play a quiet yet growing role.

The notes below point to what a successful wine this is: the cream always rises to the top! It’s already bursting with charismatic plum, anise and rose petal flavours and a twist of nettle from the stems. The palate is refined, juicy, super-fresh and seriously complex. A joy to drink, it will continue to improve for a decade or two, even if it is lovely drinking now. A great restaurant vintage, if ever there was one!

“A very pure and floral nose with cherries, violets and plums as well. Medium body with velvety tannins and bright acidity. Such a succulent core of redcurrants and violets with minerality and a transparent character to the focused finish. Drink or hold.”
94 points, James Suckling
“Really alert, vivacious bouquet, a basket full of black cherries, hints of mulberry, licorice. The palate rocks, offers instant and pleasing dark berry fruit with a nudge of sweetness, holds slightly furry tannins for now. There is a cool thread through it, which works very well in its lift and freedom. The aftertaste has a note of cherry stone, black olives, a herbal tone from the inclusion of the stems.”
John Livingstone-Learmonth, DrinkRhone.com
Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2021 (1500ml)

⋆ ⋆ Revue du Vin de France: Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France 2023

“Graillot fils is doing a fine job upholding the high standard at this 22-hectare domaine in Chassis, which Alain established in 1985. For many wine lovers this is the touchstone producer of Crozes-Hermitage.” Josh Raynolds, Vinous

“The Crozes-Hermitage remain the benchmarks for the appellation...” La Revue du Vin de France

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