2020 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage
Northern Rhone, France
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 an average vine age of between 40 and 50 years, the Graillot terroirs are now 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.
With regards to the winemaking, the organically farmed grapes were loaded (crushed without destemming) into lined concrete vats for a two- to five-day pre-ferment maceration. After a natural yeast 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.
At this young stage, it’s a Syrah of super-charged aromatic intensity, with dark berries, purple florals and warm spices mingling with the vineyard’s soil-to-glass ferrous and mineral tones. The palate, suave and long, builds in the mouth with a similar intensity of black olive, smoky charcuterie and graphite mineral tang, carried by seamless texture and a charge of energy and flavour at the finish. It will only get better and better with some age, but right now it’s already a flat-out charming and delicious Graillot thoroughbred. - Importers Notes