2016 Domaine des Lises, Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhone, France.
Alain Graillot’s son Maxime Graillot, who’s taking the reins at the family Domaine also has his own project Domaine des Lises doing an estate wine, this one, and some neogociant bottings under his Equis and Equinoxe labels, making some wonderful Syrah value wines, these are wines not to be missed. Especially true, when you try the Domaine des Lises, this is a classic Crozes with fine detail and old world, cool climate and terroir character and charm, he manages to guide his Syrah into a beautiful layered and textured wine with pretty elements lifted in a precise focus on the purity of form. Maxime has risen to the next level in recent vintages, in particular with his 2015 and even more so with this new 2016 release, which is wonderfully complex and with all the lovely savory tones you’d expect from a crores, but also with gorgeous refinement, elegance and perfume, it has a bit more vitality than the ripe 2015, though still has a rich and powerful structure. While still refining his style and not married to 100% whole cluster, as his father’s wines, he farms all organic, with this wine coming from the lieu dit ‘Les Picheres’ in the famed Beaumont Monteux commune of Crozes-Hermitage set on deep gravelly soils over clay, which sometimes presents a more fruit think wine, in this case Graillot achieves an ultra fine balance, he ages the Crozes in used Burgundy barrels, which adds to the finesse. The 2016 starts with exotic spices, violet floral tones and liquid rock opening up on the lush and youthful high-toned palate with loads of vivid black and blue fruits including blackberry, sharp currant, damson plum, boysenberry and blueberry which are bright to life with contrasting graphite, anise, black olive, truffle/game and cracked peppercorns. The body is mouth filling and full, but not heavy and everything flows seamlessly, this is an impressive wine all the way around and even more surprising is that it is drinking so amazing right now, wow, this is going to be a classic and vintage to stock up on, to enjoy anytime with much guilt, though I can easily say it will be even more rewarding in 5 to 10 years too, so you might want to hide a few bottles away. I a week of exploring Syrah this one stands out, not because it is a blockbuster, but because it is everything you’d expect and more from this winemaker and from this place, it delivers a studied performance that is highly rewarding, it’s a gift of nature!
($35 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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