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Maxime Graillot: Rhônely Hearts—New Releases from Domaine des Lises & Equis

Maxime Graillot: Rhônely Hearts—New Releases from Domaine des Lises & Equis

Maxime Graillot made terrific wines in 2020, both at Domaine Alain Graillot and Domaine des Lises. Sensing a now familiar clash with high sugar levels, Graillot has chosen to relax his harvesting regime. Instead of waiting for perfect ripeness—and therefore risking high sugar levels—this year, Max sent his pickers out on August 22nd, the earliest this domaine has ever commenced harvest. The first pick came into the cellar on the cusp of ripeness, while the final selection occurred on September 3rd, roughly a week before the domaine’s neighbours started their harvest. The resulting blend of these picks is a pleasure to drink. There’s an energy and brightness to the wine and the kind of poise that points to a more classical vintage than, on paper, the metrics around 2020 would suggest.

 

2021 was a different kettle of fish. A challenging season marked by frost, hail and cooler and wetter conditions, 2021 was what we old timers used to call a ‘growers’ year’. Those willing to drop a lot of fruit and slave away in the vineyard have been rewarded with delightfully fresh and classically styled Northern Rhône Syrah that has come in between 12.5 and 13.5%. Maxime Graillot and Thomas Schmittel have crafted a fragrant, lip-smacking, almost Pinot-weighted Equinoxe Crozes-Hermitage from this year—a vin de soif, with intent. Trust the great growers! 

 

We are very excited to have gotten our hands on a parcel of Domaine des Lises’ white Crozes. Finally. We first tasted the wine in the Rhône Valley in 2015 and, since then, have been gently reminding Maxime that we are still patiently waiting—Maxime has only 0.4 hectares to work with. The wine comes from a historic terroir in Mercurol called the Coteau des Pends, a sloping south-facing hillside on white clay and chalk. Described by Rhône authority John Livingstone-Learmonth as a high, high-quality terroir, Le Pends is one of the most coveted terroirs in the region for white grapes, and Maxime’s wine—full of alluring floral fruit and stony intensity—goes a good way to explaining why. 

 

The Wines

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