2017 Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage La Guiraude
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, their track record for rewarding patient cellaring is exemplary.
La Guiraude is a tête de cuvée, a barrel selection made only in vintages where it is felt there are some barrels that exhibit particularly intense and age-worthy personalities. Not necessarily a ‘better’ wine than the Domaine Crozes, it is typically more powerful and in need of longer cellaring.
Opaque ruby. Powerful, mineral-accented black and blue fruit, olive and allspice aromas are energized by a suave floral overtone. Fleshy, juicy and broad in the mouth, offering concentrated black currant, cherry liqueur, fruitcake and floral pastille flavors that tighten up with aeration. Densely packed yet energetic as well, finishing with sharp delineation, steadily building tannins and excellent persistence.
Josh Raynolds - Vinous