Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2015

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I mostly write about wines of exceptional quality and that I think deserve special notice. I am also usually a significant fan of Alain Graillot – his whole cluster old-vine Crozes-Hermitage are usually a benchmark for the appellation. 2015 is also one of the most lauded vintages in the Northern Rhone for some time.

What we can learn from this wine is that so-called great vintages are not always equally distributed in the smaller sub-appellations and across all producers. 2015 was a rich, warm vintage. It seems to have allowed for the best wines in Cote-Rotie and Hermitage. However, the more southerly appellations like Cornas have seen perhaps too much extract and richness in some cases. This Crozes-Hermitage is, unfortunately, in that latter camp.

I feel the whole-cluster methods of Graillot actually work better in slightly cooler vintages. That sounds strange since it usually takes warm vintages to properly ripen the stems and ensure no green tannins. With Graillot, his stems seem to ripen well even in classic vintages, creating classic, typical northerly Syrah with structure. The 2015 feels unstructured and discombobulated compared to the typical vintages of Graillot, and surprisingly uninteresting compared to great Graillot vintages like 2011. This awkwardness results from a textural softness and lesser acidity, though the fruit is not over-ripe. Things just seem out of balance with this wine and I am skeptical that age will bring them together.

An interesting lesson.

Very Good
$50 + tax at BCLDB

Comments

  1. Will
    July 2, 2017

    That’s really interesting indeed. I’m also a big fan of Graillot’s Crozes, and was planning to buy a case of the 2015, because – as you write – it is supposedly a great vintage. You have now put me off significantly. I thought that the 2013 was masterful, but I found the 2014 dull in comparison.

  2. Shea
    July 2, 2017

    2014 had a lot of rotundones, which the 2015 has none of. I would suggest tasting one bottle before committing to a case. If you like it rich and ripe you may still enjoy.

  3. Will
    July 2, 2017

    Yes, I’ll buy just the one bottle in the first instance. I definitely don’t like my syrahs rich and ripe. The Graillots also went OTT with their 2015 Beaujolais in my humble opinion, but I was hoping that the stalks (and the fact it is the core wine) would balance things out with the 2015 Crozes.

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