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In France’s Northern Rhone Valley, there are few names as revered as Graillot. It was in 1985 that the now legendary Alain Graillot, who after working with the venerable Jacques Seysses at Domaine Dujac, came back to his home in Crozes-Hermitage to start his own domaine. With each passing year his devotion to the art of making hauntingly delicious Syrah from his organically farmed, stone-laden vineyards, has been rewarded with an ever growing and highly dedicated following around the world. Alain’s sons Maxime and Antoine have been in charge since 2008, with Alain working closely alongside them to this day. All the work is still completely the same as it ever was: hand-harvesting, organic farming, whole-cluster fermentation, and aging the wines primarily in 1-to-3 year old barrels purchased from some of the top estates in Burgundy. In great years, the domaine also makes tiny quantities of a barrel selection knows as “La Guiraude,” a rare and remarkably complex wine of particular distinction. The domaine’s status as one of the top domaines in all of France is without question and the whole lineup are must-haves for any serious Northern Rhone fan.
Very focused, with a sanguine thread weaving around gentle steeped plum and black currant fruit, all backed by singed mesquite notes and a mouthwatering minerally edge. Should age nicely.
Looking considerably more roasted in style than the 2019, the 2018 Crozes Hermitage la Guiraude features notes of grilled dark-skinned plums and savory black olives. It's full-bodied, rich and velvety, but with its layers of super ripe, slightly cooked fruit, it should probably be consumed in its first decade, despite having plenty of concentration and tannin. - Joe Czerwinski