Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage La Guiraude 2013

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Alain Graillot founded his domaine in Crozes-Hermitage in 1985, and rapidly became one of the most in-demand producers in the Northern Rhône for his exuberant, robust, and multi-layered 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 Rhône fan.

Only produced in exceptional vintages, the Crozes-Hermitage 'La Guiraude' is a barrel selection of Graillot’s best Crozes-Hermitage lots each vintage. ‘La Guiraude’ is chosen after Alain has tasted every barrel. This stem-fermented wine is a powerfully structured, yet elegant wine that will age well. The special cuvée is not terroir specific. Fruit goes into lined concrete vats whole-cluster for a 2- to 5-day pre-fermentation maceration followed by a 15- to 21-day fermentation. Pumpovers are employed to carefully integrate oxygen into the wine. Wines are aged for one year (80% aged in 1- to 3-year-old barrels purchased from top estates in Burgundy and 20% in concrete vats. (800 cs when produced)

Category Red Wine
Varietal
Country France
Region Rhone
Appellation Crozes-Hermitage
Brand Domaine Alain Graillot
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Wine AdvocateSharing lots of similarities to the straight Crozes Hermitage, the limited production 2013 Crozes Hermitage la Guiraude has a touch more ripeness and density in its plum, licorice, smoked meats and olive brine-driven bouquet. This gives way to a full-bodied 2013 that has solid mid-palate depth, plenty of texture and a great finish. A selection of the top barrels (not destemmed and aged all in older oak), it too will evolve gracefully for a decade.

Jeb Dunnuck, December 2015

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