Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage La Guiraude 2009
Syrah/Shiraz from Rhone, France
#9 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011
The "La Guiraude" cuvée is not a specific terroir, but a selection of the year's best lots, chosen after Alain has tasted every barrel.
Wine Spectator - "This is very tight now, with a wall of iron-clad structure holding the core of blackberry, cassis and black cherry fruit in check. Notes of tar, iron and sweet tobacco lurk in the background. The long, long finish is all minerally cut. A brick-house Crozes that demands cellaring. Maybe the best vintage yet for this cuvée. Best from 2013 through 2020. 650 cases made."
The Wine Advocate - "Absolutely phenomenal, and one of the best wines he has ever made, is Graillot’s top cuvee, the 2009 Crozes-Hermitage Cuvee Speciale La Guiraude. Dense purple, with notes of charcoal, blackberry, cassis, licorice, earth and pepper, the wine is full-bodied, rich, very primary and unevolved, but loaded with fruit, glycerin, body buttressed by crisp acids and sweet, abundant tannin. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and drink it over the next 15 or more years. "
International Wine Cellar - "Opaque ruby. Pungent aromas of blackberry, fresh violet and rooty sassafras. Sappy and smooth on the palate, offering lush dark berry and bitter cherry flavors as well as notes of candied flowers and licorice. Finishes on a spicy note, with very good thrust and length.
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Domaine Alain Graillot Winery
Alain Graillot is well known to wine lovers throughout the world, and is universally regarded as one of the most talented producers not only in the Rhône, but in the whole of France. What is extraordinary is that he has built his reputation and fame in just 15 short years, and in an appellation that was until recently seriously despised by the cognoscenti. He has proved that even (or should we say particularly) from the flat land near the Isère river confluence, it is possible to make rich, concentrated reds that demonstrate everything that is exciting about the Syrah grape - the explosive black fruit, the aromatic intensity, the pepper and spice complexity, all supported by crisp acidity and good tannins. They are difficult to resist young, but patient cellaring is well-rewarded.
Graillot began making wine in 1985, having tired of life as Marketing Manager for a large French agricultural equipment company. He was lucky to benefit from the advice of friends such as Paul Jaboulet, Jean-Louis Grippat, and Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac in Burgundy, and immediately struck vinous gold. This led him, in 1988, to buy the vineyards he had previously rented, to which he has since added land in Saint-Joseph and even a few vines on the Hermitage hill - just enough to make 2 barrels a year!
The quality of Graillot wines is now legendary, and he has become the father-figure to a whole new generation of young Rhône producers. And if appellations such as Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph now offer some of the best wine values in the Rhône, it is in no little part thanks to Alain's groundbreaking work. View all Domaine Alain Graillot Wines
About Other RhôneView a map of Other Rhône wineries Other appellations of the Rhône include: in the North – St-Péray, Chateau Grillet; in the South – Lirac, Côtes du Ventoux, Côtes du Tricastin, Rasteau
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.