2016 Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Rouge
Region: France, Rhône
Farming: Certified Organic
Grape Varieties: Syrah
Dry, med-bodied red; just Rhône | Morcilla
Hand-harvested. Whole cluster fermentation for 6 days in cement vessels. 12 months in oak, 10% new and 90% old foudres from Burgundy. Maximum 10,000 bottles produced. Average age of vines, 30 years.
Alain Graillot is a first-generation winemaker, although the Graillot family are Rhône natives. He bought a Crozes-Hermitage parcel in 1985, and rapidly established himself as the darling of the appellation. Once known as "junior Hermitage", Alain's two decades of conscientious vineyard management and winery techniques have elevated the reputation of Crozes.
Having originally dabbled in business, Alain then studied winemaking in Burgundy before building up his portfolio of 17 hectares. Most of this land is in Crozes-Hermitage, but he also has one hectare in Saint-Joseph slightly further north. In selecting these sites, Alain defied expectations. The flat plains of Crozes-Hermitage around the River Isère are typically seen as having lower potential. However, Alain has chosen sites where the large, smooth stones can go as deep as 30m. These were washed into the Rhône from the Alps before the Isère changed its course and left behind this distinctive dried-up riverbed. This meticulous site-selection sets Alain's wines apart from other Crozes, grown on sandy or clay-rich soils.