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.
$50 + tax at BCLDB