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Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2009 (Northern Rhone, France) - [RP 90] [ST 89-91]
Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2009 (Northern Rhone, France) - [RP 90] [ST 89-91]


Retail Price: $40.00
Artisan Wine Depot Price: $28.99
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Winery: Alain Graillot
Varietal: Syrah
Region: Crozes Hermitage, Northern Rhone, France
Vintage: 2009
Bottle Size: 750 ml


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CASE PRICE = $25.99 per bottle (add 12+ quantity to your basket)
About This Wine:

Born in Northern Rhone, Alain Graillot has always had an affinity for wine. After a stint in Paris, he returned home so he could learn more about winemaking. Graillot studied in Burgundy while also receiving guidance from Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac. In 1985, Graillot founded his domaine. He owns approximately 52 acres of vineyards, most of which are planted with red varietals in Crozes-Hermitage. He also has 4 acres in St.-Joseph and less than an acre in Hermitage. Although deceiving because of his laid-back disposition, Graillot has become a leader in the Crozes-Hermitage appellation.

The grapes for Alain's Crozes-Hermitage come from around Pont de l'Isère, where the soil is formed from alluvial deposits of sand, gravel, rocks and stones. Despite being flat, it drains exceedingly well. The grapes are loaded (without de-stemming) into lined concrete vats, and temperatures are brought down to 18°C for a 2 to 5 day pre-fermentation maceration. Once vinifications get going, temperatures rise to 30°C, and cuvaison lasts 15 to 21 days. The young wines are aged for one year - 80% of them in one to 3 year old oak barrels, the remaining 20% in vat.

Alain Graillot founded his domaine in Crozes-Hermitage in 1985, and rapidly became one of the most in-demand producers in the Northern Rhone for his exuberant, robust, and complete Syrah-based wines. Alain owns 50 acres of 30-year-old Crozes-Hermitage vines on the flat alluvial plain between the Rhône and Isère rivers, in well-draining soils of sand, gravel, and stones. He also has two tiny parcels in St. Joseph, from which he makes a slightly fresher, more early-drinking wine than the remarkable Crozes-Hermitage that constitutes the majority of his production.

Alain harvests by hand and works organically, employing whole-cluster fermentation and aging the wines primarily in 1-to-3 year old barrels purchased from some of the top estates in Burgundy. In great years, he makes tiny quantities of a barrel selection knows as “La Guiraude,” a rare and spectacular wine. Graillot’s wines are structured, but still very appealing and approachable in their youth, and their longevity is truly remarkable… These are must-haves for any serious Northern Rhone fan.

Ratings & Reviews

90 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"Denser, with more blackberry fruit such as well as hints of licorice and cassis, the medium to full-bodied, wonderfully pure, dense 2009 Crozes-Hermitage is a winner and a big-time sleeper of the vintage. This rich, full, multi-layered wine should drink well for 10-15 years. 2009 is Alain Graillot’s finest vintage since 1990." - Robert Parker (Feb 2011)

89-91 Points - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar:

"Vivid ruby. Assertive aromas of dark berries, cola and licorice, with a hint of dark chocolate in the background. Smoky, ripe dark fruit flavors provide good palate coverage and show gentle spiciness. Suggestions of smoked meat and black olive come up with air. Rich but also energetic, with good finishing thrust and persistent smokiness." - Josh Raynolds (Jan/Feb '11)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2008 vintage):

"Bright ruby. Exotic aromas of cherry pie, incense, bacon fat and violet. Modestly concentrated but fresh and focused, with red berry, cherry, mineral and candied flower flavors and good back-end cut. Finishes on a tangy note, with a hint of smoky minerals." - Josh Raynolds (Jan/Feb 2010)

91 Points - Wine Spectator Magazine (2007 vintage):
"Densely packed for the vintage, with briar, tapenade, maduro tobacco, bittersweet cocoa and crushed blackberry fruit all weaving around muscular tannins. Tangy, mineral-filled finish has latent length. For the cellar. Best from 2010 through 2016. 7,250 cases made." –JM (11/15/2009)

90 Points - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (2007 vintage):
"Bright ruby. Wild, pungent aromas of raspberry, smoked meat, tarragon and Indian spices. Then tight and minerally in the mouth, offering sweet red berry and floral flavors and a hint of smoked game. The long finish is tangy, focused and alluringly spicy. Open-knit and expressive right now but my experience with this bottling, which goes back almost 20 years, suggests it will be even better with a few years of bottle aging and drink well until 2017. The 1988, 1989 and 1990 versions are all delicious right now, by the way." -Josh Raynolds (Jan/Feb 2010)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
(2007 vintage):
"Deep garnet-purple colour. Very peppery aromas with a nice core of blackberries, warm cassis, liquorice and cumin. Crisp acid and a medium+ level of fine tannins. Great balance. Long finish. Lovely Syrah." -Lisa Perrotti-Brown (3/2010)

2009 and 2008 Northern Rhone Wines
By Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

"A whole ’nother thing in 2009. There have been rumblings that 2009 is a watershed vintage for the red wines of the northern Rhône, and while a number of wines are flat-out outstanding I’m not yet ready to concur. Neither are the producers, by the way, especially those who believe that adequate structure for aging rather than flamboyantly ripe fruit is a key criterion for defining greatness. Two thousand nine was a hot year and many of the young wines I tasted, while undeniably alluring, show a ripeness and openness, not to mention moderate acidity and soft tannins, that makes me suspicious of their long-term promise. “It’s a rich vintage in the north and south and you really should have picked early to get a balanced wine,” Philippe Guigal told me. “You had to make sure that the sugars and subsequent alcohol didn’t get away from you. That’s also an issue with the white wines; a lot are very high in alcohol: 15% is pretty much the average for Hermitage and plenty of Condrieu is at 16%.” That opinion was echoed by Christophe Bonnefond, who said, “2009 was a hot and dry year, with many of the wines having very high alcohol and low acidity. That’s not the best thing if you like to age the wines but it does give them immediate appeal and they are definitely exuberant and flashy.” Bonnefond is especially wary of cellaring 2009 Condrieus and thinks that they should be drunk soon, “for all that exotic character.” Lionel Faury piled on, expressing the opinion that “it’s important to watch carefully for high alcohol in 2009, especially with the white wines. There were a lot of seriously ripe grapes brought in.”

If your inclination is to enjoy your wines on the young side and you enjoy ripe, fleshy fruit and soft tannins, 2009 is a definite must-buy. Said Brigitte Roch: “These wines are going to make a lot of people happy but they’re really about fruit expression, sometimes at the expense of structure. Depending on how and when most people like to drink their wines, that probably isn’t really an issue.”

Read the full article at Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar:

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