What's Just Landed

  • Alain Graillot Release

    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.

    Production wise:

    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



    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.



  • The Fire of Main Street

    On the same day my daughter turned one month old we lost something that we hold dear to our hearts...part of Main Street in Bothell.  I was called at 3:30am by a customer who said Main Street was on fire and I should get down to the shop.  By 3:45am I was down there and saw something that made me want to throw up.  Main Street was on fire and it was going up fast.
    By the time the smoke had cleared...two buildings were gone, nine businesses were a complete loss, 6+ businesses were affected and that includes Rain City Wines.  The fire dept, police, 911 and all support staff saved our building and all of Main Street.
    As of right now, it looks like Rain City Wines will be shut down for at least a week.  We've lost power & internet yet gained faith that even though there was a major loss to our community, we will rebuild and we will support everyone.
    I'll update soon.  For now, support any way you can. Donations, working space or just a friendly hello.  Main Street has a tough road ahead but you know what?  This will only make us stronger and we will come out on top.
    We are Bothell!
  • April's Daily Drinking Red Wine Club Wines

    It is time for your daily drinking red wines....
    2011 Corte alla Flora Podere del Giuggiolo Toscana -  This is a very traditional tuscan blend of 100% Sangiovese, no oak, no nothing but good old fashion wine.  Bright red fruit with some soft tannins.  This is by far the daily drinker of the summer.  You should be able to pair this wine up with almost anything except someone who's a fun-sponge!
    2014 Albacea MonastrellFans of the blockbuster Jumilla red Clio don't want to miss this outstanding bargain from the enigmatic Miguel Gil. As proprietor of Bodegas Juan Gil, Miguel has helped put this backwater Spanish wine region on the map with phenomenal Monastrell-based wines that elicit oohs and ahs from all who taste them. 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre) from a number of Gil's select vineyards. Appealing aromas of smoke-infused blackberry, cedar, and pepper lead into succulent fruit flavors balanced by a clean, fresh finish. The Albacea works well at parties, alongside lamb chops and burgers, and unfinished bottles can be kept corked in the fridge for at least 2 days of enjoyment.
    2014 Domaine de Cristia Grenache VdP - A great little drinker from a top Châteauneuf-du-Pape producer. Vivacious ruby red colour. Good aromatic intensity on the nose with aromas of ripe fruits, red-fruit coulis and hints of fresh licquorice. The palate offers good volume, is rich and endowed with silky tannins. Good amplitude in the middle palate which leads onto a long finish where the licquorice aromas persist.
    And there you have it folks.  The daily's for the month of April.
  • April's Red Wine Club Wines

    The sun is out and the grill is calling your name.  Take some time, head over to Double D Meats and pick up a couple of New Yorks.  Start the grill on high and let it get nice and hot!!  Sprinkle some Vignalta salt on both sides of that beautiful cut of beef and set them on the grill.  After a quick sear...turn the gas down and pop the wine.  Here's what we have for you this month.
    2009 Renzo Marinai Chianti Classico Riserva - Marinai Chianti Classico Riserva has a deep ruby red color, a harmonious perfume with a very pervasive, elegant and persistent bouquet; dry in the mouth, balanced and warm, with considerable body.  Try this with a roast, red meats and braised meats. 
    2013 Agricola Matilde Bonarda Dell' Oltrepo Pavese - Martilde is the creation of Antonella Tacci and Raimondo Lombardi. In 1991 they left their life in Milan working for IBM to start a small winery in the hills of the Oltrepo Pavese in the northwest of Italy. Located in the the commune of Rovescala, long reputed the birthplace of the Bonarda * grape, the estate covers some 15 hectares. While Antonella and Raimondo pay particular attention to Bonarda, they make many types of wine, some traditional, others innovative. Their labels are delightfully whimsical paintings by Antonella, mainly of their beloved animals. In fact the winery itself is named after two of their cats, Martina and Matilde.


    N.B. The Bonarda dell’Oltrepo Pavese is also known as Croatina, and is believed to be a different grape to the Bonarda Piemontese, which makes a lighter, more supple wine. The Croatina makes a deep-colored, fruity wine, often with some tannin and a slightly bitter finish. It can be a difficult grape as it is a late-ripener, and can vary enormously in crop size from year to year.

    Small production of 2100 cases. Old vineyards with low yields (30 hl/ha), replaced vine by vine. A couple of new vineyards planted 5000 plants/hectare. Soil is clay with a little limestone (good for producing red grapes with high sugar levels). The rows between the vines are planted to grass, rather than ploughed, for maximal water management, and a degree of competition for the vines. Minimal treatments applied to the vines, and no pesticides, insecticides or chemical weedkillers. Besides the signature Bonarda (Croatina) and BarberaUva Rara and Pinot Noir are grown, as well as Malvasia and Riesling ItalicoVinifications vary with grape and vintage, but hew to the traditional.

    2012 Godiolo Rosso di Montepulciano - With a blend of Prugnolo gentile 98%, Cannaiolo-Colorino 2%, this is one dirty old boy!  Dark fruit with some forest floor undertones.  Dirty dirty on the nose and palate so you'll need to give it some open air time.  The palate is pretty amazing with more dark fruit but with tannins and structure.  I love this wine.

  • Domaine Hauvette Release

    Last week I tasted something new to the Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant portfolio..Domaine Hauvette.  The wines Dominique makes are something of magic.   You know you're drinking something special when you have the juice swishing past your gums & hitting the back of your throat and all you do is smile.  Now for the downside...there is not a lot of this around.  In the new world they would call Domaine Hauvette an "allocated wine" where as in the rest of the world they call it...limited production.  You see, the domaine only makes around 3300 cases of which here in the good old Evergreen state we only received around six cases of each red (two different vintages of the same wine), three cases of her 2013 rosé (current vintage) and four cases of the blanc.  Here's the dirty on the wines.
    I first tasted the 2012 Domaine Hauvette Alpilles Blanc "Jaspe" which at first did not have much on the nose but once it warmed up it started to come around.  A nose of sea salt and light tropical fruit.  The palate was a different story.  High acidity, loads of minerals with a very sharp palate.  More sea salt or saline if you may, yet the acidity was still there and the minerality was pretty intense.  I liked it but honestly...for the shop I think it is a no go.  It's a very complex wine than needs food and some serious thought. Really though...most people will not understand the wine and I just feel it would be a waste of your money.  If you'd like some...let me know asap and I'll see if I can secure a few bottles for ya.  It runs $36 for a 750ml bottle.
    Next up was the 2013 Domaine Hauvette Les Baux de Provence Rose "Petra".  This was a killer rosé.  At only $33 a bottle...this is what I call a serious rose from Provence.  A blend of 70% Cinsault, 15% Syrah 15% Grenache.  A little darker than rust in color.  Don't let the color fool you...this wine means business and to top it off...we took 1/3 of the states allocation!  It was kinda closed up on the nose until you take a sip and then it starts to show you it's core.  Floral notes on the palate with some solid texture and a killer finish.  Bright acidity makes this so food friendly it might become the best part of the meal.  Only 36 bottles came in...I took 12 so far.
    Then I was poured the 2005 Domaine Hauvette Les Baux de Provence Rouge "Cornaline".    A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 2005 is very silky soft yet has the tannins to back up a nice steak.  Soft, wet spices with the elegance to back it up.  Wine will age for another 10+ years.  At 11 years old...this is truly a graceful wine from Provence.  This wine has only begun to evolve into what it should be.  Being that the domaine has only been making wine for 28 years now...this is a great example of how a wine should be made for long time cellaring yet still being able to crack open at a young age and enjoy with friends & family.  Only 72 bottles were brought into the state.  This wine sits at $48 per bottle.
    The last wine which I inhaled was the 2008 Domaine Hauvette Les Baux de Provence Rouge "Cornaline".  You know how sometimes people will pour the youngest wine first then the oldest?  Yeah, there's a good reason why the '05 was poured first.  The 2008 is brass, big, rich and ballsy....kinda like Donald Trump yet in this case...you'll all love this corked up juice.  Same blend as the 2005 just with less age on it.  This wine is like a KISS concert in your mouth!  Fireworks going off, it's loud, people are jumping up and down (in this case the wine is jumping out of the glass) and yes...it's heavy!  Things you'll need for this wine...a decanter, a few hours and some serious meat!  Three years makes a HUGE difference. $46 a bottle and again...only 72 bottles were brought into the state.
    So there you have it.  One of the two newest producers added to the KLWM portfolio.  If anyone wants any...please let me know.  These wines from Provence are more scarce than Domaine Tempier Rosé (& less money).  I've already started taken orders for all three.  
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