Côtes-du-Rhône: Domaine Alain Graillot 'Clos Somi' 2021
The Graillot (of Crozes-Hermitage fame) family’s 'Clos Somi' hails from the tiny village of Aigueze on the Ardèche river in the Gard region. Part of the wider Côtes-du-Rhône appellation, it’s known for characteristically typical yet good value wines. This Southern Rhône blend of equal parts Cinsault, Grenache Noir and Syrah is brightly-fruited with fresh acidity and lovely depth and concentration. Santé!
This Côtes-du-Rhône heralds from a tiny 1.2ha old-vine vineyard acquired by the Graillot family primarily for its olive orchard. Planted to Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah in roughly equal proportions, it is farmed using organic methods but not certified as such.
|Style||Red Wine, Sec, Full-bodied, Non Sparkling|
|Wine Region||Rhône, Côtes du Rhône|
|Grape Variety (Cépage)||Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah|
|Food & Wine Matching||Casserole, Lamb, Mushrooms, Pork|
|Cellarage||This wine should cellar well for up to 5 years from vintage.|
|Vinification||Hand-picked, destemmed and co-fermented in cement vats for a fortnight. No added sulphites and matured in 1500 litre foudres for 9 months before a July bottling.|
|Alcohol By Volume (%)||13|
Alain Graillot left a career in agro-chemicals in 1985 to follow a dream with a rented parcel of vines, on the site of a former pig farm, on the Chassis plateau between Tain l'Hermitage and Pont l'Isère in the appellation of Crozes-Hermitage in the Northern Rhône. Today the Domaine has a reputation for being one of the leading Crozes-Hermitage growers and having trained many more vignerons who have taken Alain's expertise and winemaking philosophy to heart. That includes Alain's sons Antoine and Maxime who together have run the domaine somewhat interchangeably for the last couple of decades. Alain passed away in 2022 but Domaine Alain Graillot remains one of the most widely respected producers in the Rhône valley and their wines grace the lists of France's finest restaurants. The Graillot philosophy is as simple as it is successful – to produce appealing, sensibly-priced wines that people will want to drink.
Today, the Domaine vineyards are comprised of 18 hectares of Syrah vines and 2 hectares of Marsanne and Roussanne vines (planted in a ratio of 80% Marsanne to 20% Roussanne) which surround their cellars at Les Chênes Verts. This is a great source of clean but characterful, fruit-accentuated red and white Crozes-Hermitage wines for gratifying forward drinking. In favourable vintages, Antoine and Maxime also produce small volumes of a more age-worthy, denser Crozes-Hermitage called 'La Guiraude'. Minimal volumes of Saint-Joseph and Hermitage are also made. Both sons are involved in a number of winemaking projects using bought-in fruit for their 'Equis' and 'Domaine des Lises' bottlings in the Northern Rhône. In 2019, they acquired a small farm in the Ardèche and make a tiny amount of Côtes du Rhône under the 'Clos Somi' label, to add to 'Domaine de Fa' in Beaujolais (since 2013) plus their long-standing partnerships with growers in Spain and Morocco.
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