2021 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage

Arguably the touchstone example of Croze-Hermitage. Deep and broody, it's one to contemplate.

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Description

This wine is considered a benchmark for this French appellation. It is the highest-rated Crozes Domaine in France's leading wine guide, Revue du Vin de France's Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France, and rightfully so.

It is a tribute to the fastidious organic vineyard practices that Alain, and now his sons, Maxime and Antoine, have employed on their great vineyard holdings across the northern Rhone.

The vines are gnarled from decades in the rocky soils of Crozes, yet they are manicured and tended with the utmost care.

It's the power and definition in this wine that sets it apart from other examples of the region. It's smoky, spicy, brooding and deep and without question one of the finest examples of Syrah you will find from Crozes-Hermitage.

94 points
“Such a succulent core of redcurrants and violets with minerality and a transparent character to the focused finish.”
"- 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.”
- John Livingstone-Learmonth, DrinkRhone.com 

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!

94 points - “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.” - 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

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