Crozes-Hermitage: Alain Graillot 'La Guiraude' Rouge 2020

"Sultry and smoldering, with incense and an attractive cherry and blackberry core. Powerful and densely packed on the smooth palate, with softening tannins still guiding the long, salty, iron-infused finish, which stands firm. Polished and well-crafted, with impressive texture. Drink now through 2032. 500 cases made, 93/100."
Kristen Bieler - Wine Spectator.

Bottle (Case)
Tasting Notes

Crozes' legend Alain Graillot produces just 500 cases of this patron's cuvée, called 'La Guiraude', and only in good vintages. This selection of the top barrels (not destemmed and aged for longer) is denser, more textured and more age-worthy than the main wine.

About this wine
StyleRed Wine, Sec, Medium-bodied, Non Sparkling
Wine RegionRhône, Crozes-Hermitage
Grape Variety (Cépage)Syrah
Food & Wine MatchingDuck, Lamb, Mushrooms, Pheasant and Game
CellarageThis Crozes-Hermitage rouge is suited to medium-term drinking at 2 to 5 years of age but can keep well for at least a decade in superior vintages.
VinificationGrapes are vinified with their stems (20 to 30% whole grapes) for three weeks in stainless steel vats, preceded by a cold maceration without sulphur. The wine is then racked off its lees with up to 50% being aged in small young Burgundy casks before being blended and bottled a year or so later.
Alcohol By Volume (%)13

Alain Graillot

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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