2019 Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage
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.
Atypically big, rich and velvety, the 2019 Crozes Hermitage emanates from a vintage whose yields were cut in half by hail. Bottled in March 2021, it delivers rolling waves of ripe black cherries, tinged with understated herbal notes and a long, luxuriously textured finish. Drink 2023 - 2035.
Joe Czerwinski - Wine Advocate (Jan 2022)
Spice-driven dark berry, cherry, peony and licorice aromas are sharpened by a zesty mineral flourish. Fleshy blackberry and bitter cherry flavors turn sweeter with air and pick up a smoky nuance on the back half. Shows fine definition and energy and finishes spicy and quite long, displaying gently chewy tannins and a resonating floral quality.
Josh Raynolds - Vinous
A cloud of smoke, plus the aromas of freshly cracked black pepper and a freshly sharpened pencil, are married to subtle blackberry and blueberry fruit. Simultaneously ripe, sleek and very precise, this has almost Burgundian finesse at the long, cool finish. As it aerates, the tannins grow in intensity, suggesting this has excellent aging potential. The last vintage Alain Graillot bottled before his recent death.