Alain Graillot, Saint Joseph Rouge, 2018

$55.99
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Alain Graillot

What exactly does it mean to be a reference point wine? Is it just a synonym for "good" or "really good?" Does it mean, "old and established" or "expensive and difficult to find?"

In Crozes-Hermitage, there is only one reference point: Alain Graillot.

Clearly, then, "reference point" does not mean old, for Graillot has only been around since 1985. It also does not mean expensive: Graillot's Crozes-Hermitage remains one of the best values in the Northern Rhône, in just about every vintage.

Graillot’s wines are clean, pure and polished. They are delicious young, so it's tempting to think of them as modern. Yet, peek in the cellar, and you find nothing but tradition. They work with whole clusters and avoid new barriques, for example. It is through precision, good hygiene, and obsessive work in the fields that Graillot achieves these beautiful wines.

Professional Reviews

Antonio Galloni

AG 93
"Opaque violet color. Displays powerful aromas of spice-accented dark berry and cherry preserves and incense with a smoky nuance that builds as the wine stretches out. Fleshy and broad in the mouth but surprisingly lithe as well offering intense blackberry and boysenberry flavors and a hint of candied flowers. Finishes youthfully chewy and impressively long with repeating florality and building tannins that add shape and firming grip." -Josh Raynolds

Robert Parker

RP 92-94
"The stunning 2018 Saint Joseph boasts fabulous floral aromas alongside notes of cassis and blueberries. It's medium to full-bodied silky and fine without any suggestion of over-ripeness or jamminess. It should drink well on release and for at least a decade thereafter. Maxime Graillot (Alain's son) manages this superb domaine located on the broad plains of les Chassis. Unfortunately Graillot estimates they lost 50% of their crop in 2019 because of hail damage. Thankfully the domaine is looking at two very good years in 2017 and 2018. "In 2018 we had exactly the same year we had in '17—the big difference was yield." While yields in '17 were 42-43 hectoliters per hectare in 2018 they were only 34 hectoliters per hectare. "Twenty percent less—and everything has changed" said Graillot. "If you have good yields it can mitigate the sun's effects." He describes '15 and '18 as more sunny while '16 and '17 are more terroir driven. The Alain Graillot reds are always made with 100% whole clusters so when young they often show herbal tea-like and even ashy notes from the stems. Those same stems also impart a texture that I find compelling in these wines particularly with a few years of age."

Details

  • Country

    France

  • Region

    Northern Rhone

  • Grape Variety

    Syrah

  • Vintage

    2018

  • Size

    750ml

  • Farming Practice

    Organic

  • Style

    Earthy , Funky , Herbaceous

  • Sweetness

    Dry

  • Body

    Full Bodied