Alain Graillot has proved beyond a doubt that it is possible to make rich wines from the gently sloped alluvial plain where the Isère River meets the Rhone. His concentrated reds demonstrate all that is exciting about the Syrah grape: black fruit, intense aromaticity, pepper and spice complexity underpinned by crisp acidity and fine tannins.
Graillot works organically, harvesting fruit by hand and fermenting in whole bunches. He chooses to age his wines in used barrels, one to three-years-old, purchased from Burgundy’s best estates. His Crozes-Hermitage is difficult to resist young. Despite the tannins that inevitably come from the inclusion of whole bunches in fermentation, Graillot wines are seldom hard-edged, overly tannic, or in need of extended cellaring. In fact, they are often flat-out delicious very soon after release. That being said, patient their track record for rewarding patient cellaring is exemplary.
The 2017 vintage is a new release that has yet to be reviewed. The 2016 received the following:
“The 2016 Crozes Hermitage from this terrific producer offers a big blast of classic Crozes – dark fruits, earth, truffle, olive, and pepper on the nose. This is followed by a medium-bodied, rounded, nicely concentrated effort that has good acidity, building tannins, and a great finish. An incredibly successful wine in this vintage, it will benefit from a year or two of bottle age and keep for 7-8 years.”
91 points, JebDunnuck.com, Dec 2018
“Graillot’s 2016 Crozes Hermitage (tasted from tank) will be bottled at the end of January. It’s floral and stemmy, with dark berry fruit and some tea-like notes on the silky finish. This medium to full-bodied wine should be almost ready to drink upon release and drink well for up to a decade. 2020-2030.”
(91-93) points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Dec 2017