Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-hermitage 2018


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The Domaine has now been given two stars in France’s leading wine guide, Revue du Vin de France’s Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France. This makes it the highest rated Crozes Domaine (not that we needed this validation!) and reaffirms the great work being done by Alain’s sons, Maxime and Antoine.

With an average vine age between 40 and 50 years, the Graillot terroirs are now humming on all cylinders. Organically managed, gnarled and manicured vines reach up from a sea of smooth, rolled stones. They are rooted on the Terrasse des Chassis in Pont-de-I’lsère, where the ‘soil’ was formed by ancient alluvial deposits of sand, gravel and river stones.

In regards the winemaking, the grapes were loaded (crushed without destemming) into lined concrete vats, and temperatures were brought down to 18°C for a two- to five-day pre-ferment maceration. The fermentation relied on natural yeast and once finished, the wine was aged in used (between one- and seven-year-old) François Frères barriques purchased from some of the finest estates in Burgundy. Since the 2011 vintage, Stockinger ovals have also begun to play a quiet, yet growing, role.

As the notes below make clear, this is a handy release for this wine. Max Graillot’s influence is starting to be felt, with wines of greater texture and complexity upon release. Expect a fluid, bright and fragrant wine with gorgeous fruit, outstanding purity and superb freshness on the close. It doesn’t strike us as wine that will benefit from long aging, although we could easily be wrong. No matter, it is already a wonderful drink.    

“Inky ruby. Mineral- and spice-accented aromas of ripe dark berries and candied violet show outstanding clarity and lift. At once rich and energetic in the mouth, offering juicy blackberry, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors that slowly turn sweeter on the back half. Shows outstanding clarity on the long, penetrating finish, which features well-judged tannins and lingering floral and spice notes.” 93 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous

“Maxime Graillot was confident that he will bottle a La Guiraude from 2018, but the selection hadn't yet been made at the time of my visit. This barrel of 2018 Crozes Hermitage shows superb aromatics, with hints of black tea accenting cassis and blueberry fruit. Full-bodied, rich and velvety, it reveals some chocolaty notes yet remains remarkably fresh on the finish.” 91-93 points, Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate

“Alluring, with alder, juniper and bay leaf aromas already pulling you in before the crushed cherry and plum fruit shows itself. An iron note curls around the finish, pulling everything together and bringing you back for more. Drink now through 2028.” 93 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator