Outside of Burgundy, the reds that I find most compelling are those of the Northern Rhône. Savory, wild, complex and aromatic, there’s a lot to like. And there are few producers more reliable than Alain Graillot and his remarkable Crozes-Hermitage.
The wine is iconic, and for good reason. It’s about as perfect an expression of Northern Rhône Syrah as it gets. Every year. Though the 2017 is particularly special. Dense, concentrated, powerful and built to age, it’s the most impressive young Graillot I have had in the past few years. Don’t miss it!
2017 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage
John Livingstone-Learmonth: “dark red; blackberry-bacon fat, cigarette ash airs on the nose, raspberry in back. It’s a bit sudden for now, needs to expand, amplify. There’s good grain on the palate, clear fruit with a smoky style; it runs openly, doesn’t carry enormous stuffing, shows oak traces. It doesn’t move quite consecutively along the palate. There’s some coolness from the stems in a lightly chewy close, blueberry fruit there. It needs leaving until spring 2020. 2032-34 Dec 2018.” ***(*)
More about the Wine:
From last year’s offer: Graillot founded his own Domaine only in in 1985, and started making some pretty serious waves around 1990 when Robert Parker compared his Crozes to most producers Hermitage. By now the secret is well and truly out, but the comparison still holds true. Wonderfully the prices are still incredibly good too given the adulation the wines have received, and the only problem is getting hold of them. Today we have them in both 750ml and magnum format.
These are wines of remarkable depth and structure- far more serious than one would expect from a typical Crozes. Complex, dense and ageworthy, yet pure and irresistible in youth. This is achieved by working with old (usually more than 30 yrs) vines on varying soils of sand, gravel and stones, and then with utterly traditional winemaking. There’s no destemming at all, and only indigenous yeasts and large old barrels are used. Today the estate is run principally by Alain’s son Maxime, who has showed remarkable ability, and might just be taking his family name to even greater heights than his brilliant father.