Alain Graillot is well known to wine lovers throughout the world, and is universally regarded as one of the most talented producers not only in the Rhône, but in the whole of France. What is extraordinary is that he has built his reputation and fame in just 20 short years, and in an appellation that was until recently seriously despised by the cognoscenti. He has proved that even (or should we say particularly) from the flat land near the Isère river confluence, it is possible to make rich, concentrated reds that demonstrate everything that is exciting about the Syrah grape - the explosive black fruit, the aromatic intensity, the pepper and spice complexity, all supported by crisp acidity and good tannins. They are difficult to resist young, but patient cellaring is well-rewarded.
Given Graillot's fame, demand is well in excess of supply, and stocks have to be allocated. 50% of the production goes to the export markets: notably the USA, Canada, Japan, UK and mainland Europe.
The rest is distributed in France, to loyal private clients, to specialist wine shops, and to a roll-call of the country's best restaurants: Pic, Troisgros, Loiseau, Crocodile, Georges Blanc, Lucas Carton etc.
Crozes-Hermitage Blanc: 15,000 bottles
Crozes--Hermitage Rouge: 90,000 bottles (including up to 10,000 bottles "La Guiraude"
Saint-Joseph: 5,000 bottles
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
All the grapes are hand-harvested, from severely-pruned, low-yielding vines. On arrival at the cellars, the white grapes go straight into the pneumatic press. After settling, 50% of the must is fermented in barrel (one year old oak bought from top Burgundy producers such as Sauzet). The other 50% is given a long, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks, with temperatures controlled at 18°C. Graillot deliberately avoids malolactic, thus preserving acidity, and blends the components at the end of the winter. The wine is sterile filtered and bottled in April or May following the vintage.
The red Crozes-Hermitage grapes are not destemmed. They are loaded into lined concrete vats, and temperatures are brought down to 18°C for a 2 to 5 day pre-fermentation maceration. Once vinifications get going, temperatures rise to 30°C, and cuvaison lasts 15 to 21 days. The young wines are aged for one year - 80% of them in one to 3 year old oak barrels, the remaining 20% in vat. They are given a light filtration but no fining before bottling. The "La Guiraude" cuvée is not a specific terroir, but a selection of the year's best lots, chosen after Alain has tasted every barrel.
The Saint-Joseph is made the same way as the Crozes, but from destemmed grapes. The Hermitage grapes are also destemmed, and then fermented in a small, shallow vat with pigeage by foot. The wine is aged in one year old oak for 12 to 18 months.
**Please be aware that in order to get all the Graillot wines in our area, the importer had to take a hefty amount of the Crozes-Hermitage Rouge. If you could be a dear and get at least one bottle of that with your other selections...that would be nice. Honestly...it's one of my favorite Syrah's in all the lands.
Now the wines...
2015 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Blanc $34 - Alain Graillot's white Crozes Hermitage, which is now bottled under screwcap for freshness, is made from a classic wine blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. It has attractive apricot and wild flower aromas and a fresh, mineral-edged palate with subtle white peach flavours and a clean, dry finish.
2014 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Rouge $36 - This red Crozes Hermitage is Alain Graillot's principal wine in terms of production it hails from mature Syrah rootstock on the Les Chassis plateau. It has an intense black fruit bouquet and plump palate of dark, hedgerow berries. Drinking well now, this much-celebrated wine will mature happily for a decade or more in good vintages such as this.
2013 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Rouge La Guiraude $61 - A barrel selection of his Crozes-Hermitage Rouge made in roughly 6-7 out of every 10 vintages, a mere 20-25 cases see their way to the U.S. A nose of animal, mineral, blackberry, and spice is followed by vibrant, nicely cut, mineral- and earth-driven flavors.
2014 Alain Graillot Saint Joseph Rouge $43 - bright, dark red robe. Blackberry fruit leads a supple and curvy bouquet, has a small, gentle depth of cassis and blackberry. The palate delivers sleek fruit off the bat, supple tannins with a steady increase in depth. The aftertaste is beau, scented. This has joli length and freshness, is charming and true. “Normally we are 55% St Jean de Muzols, 45% St-Désirat, but this year hail, sheep and wild boar destroyed or ate the St Jean crop, meaning that the ratio is 80% St-Désirat and only 20% St Jean,” Maxime Graillot.
If you'd like any of these wines please do a search on our site for "Graillot" and I'll get things rolling. Being that the wine shop is still closed & I'm kinda working out of the house, things might take a day or so for me to get things to you. Don't worry. As of Tuesday I'll have the new wine cooler in the garage so I'll be able to keep wines at a controlled cellar temp. If you want me to ship the wines...that will have to wait till Late September until the temps fall. Otherwise I can meet you.
Success! Feel free to
or head to your