Tandem: Syrah du Maroc 2021
Tandem is an unusual wine from the Benslimane region of Morocco, 30 km NE of Casablanca. It has elements of Alain Graillot's Crozes (peppery, fruit-forward Syrah) combined with warming, baked fruit and spice notes that transport one to North Africa. You don't have to accompany it with a fez, jellaba and tagine, but your guests will probably appreciate it if you do make the effort!
A joint venture between Alain Graillot and the Ouled Thaleb winery, NE of Casablanca in Morocco. This pure Syrah is named 'Tandem' because Alain first met the owners whilst on a cycling holiday.
Moroccan wine has been around for some time - there is evidence of wine-making in the Meknes region 2,000 years ago - but its heyday was during the French protectorate (1912-56), indeed the Ouled Thaleb cellar was built in 1923. Recently, French producers such as Alain Graillot and Bordeaux wine magnet Bernard Magrez have successfully spearheaded a revival based on quality over quantity. Morocco is the second largest wine producer in the Arab world (behind Algeria), with production situated around Casablanca, Essaouira and Meknes.
|Style||Red Wine, Sec, Full-bodied, Non Sparkling|
|Grape Variety (Cépage)||Syrah|
|Food & Wine Matching||Casserole, Lamb|
|Cellarage||Drink 2023 to 2027.|
|Alcohol By Volume (%)||13.5|
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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