2015 Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage Rouge, Northern Rhone, France.
The deep garnet and purple Crozes 2015 from Graillot is a brilliant wine, punching way above it’s price class, it’s ripe per the vintage, but with exceptional purity of place, balance and intensity. This whole cluster Syrah is already drinking fantastically well, even in it’s fresh youthful form and looks set to be a classic year for Graillot, in fact both the Alain Graillot, over seen now by his son Maxime, as well as Maxime’s own Domaine des Lises both are wonderful examples, with the Graillot being a bit more dense, serious and a bit Cornas like in presence, while the Domaine des Lises is just a touch lighter and more perfumed, this was a striking difference when tasted blind recently. Graillot, who began his Domaine in 1985, owns 50 acres of 30-year-old Crozes-Hermitage vines, which are worked all organically, they are set upon a mostly flat alluvial plain between the Rhône and Isère rivers, in well-draining soils consisting of sand, gravel, and broken rocks. The wine is crafted using hand harvested clusters that are carefully sorted for the quality of the grapes and stems, fermented, as mentioned all whole cluster and raised in used Burgundy barriques, normally 1 to 3 year old barrels to provide just the right amount of refinement, he ferments with native yeasts and in concrete, everything is done with precise focus and the wines always show this region in it’s best light, this is absolutely true in this 2015 version, which is as awesome as it gets. A big thank you to Sam Smith, winemaker at Morgan Winery in Monterey, as well as making his own line of wines, who has been to Graillot and has been inspired by them, which slows in his fine Syrah offerings (check out his Samuel Louis Smith Sunstone Terraces Syrah and his Morgan Double L Syrah) as well, for sharing this bottle from his personal cellar, as part of blind Rhone Valley tasting, it was one of the best of the night, certainly the overall winner in Syrah. The palate is packed with layers of violets, graphite/flint stone, minty herb, earth and peppercorns with a core of blackberry, boysenberry, plum and blueberry fruit adding a touch of cassis, game and nervy stems with time in the glass, this is righteous stuff Ferris, and a soulful wine that seduces and charms from start to finish. It would be hard to resist drinking this Crozes up as fast as I can, but look for some extra rewards with patient cellaring, another 5 to 10 years easy!
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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