Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2018

by Alain Graillot

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100% Syrah from Chassis, a very stony site to the south of the hill of Hermitage. Full bodied but fresh and lifted, it's a wine that offers both immediate pleasure and also plenty of unfolding complexity as the wine evolves in the cellar or opens up in the decanter.

Alain Graillot

What exactly does it mean to be a reference point wine? Is it just a synonym for "good" or "really good?" Does it mean, "old and established" or "expensive and difficult to find?"

In Crozes-Hermitage, there is only one reference point: Alain Graillot.

Clearly, then, "reference point" does not mean old, for Graillot has only been around since 1985. It also does not mean expensive: Graillot's Crozes-Hermitage remains one of the best values in the Northern Rhône, in just about every vintage.

Graillot’s wines are clean, pure and polished. They are delicious young, so it's tempting to think of them as modern. Yet, peek in the cellar, and you find nothing but tradition. They work with whole clusters and avoid new barriques, for example. It is through precision, good hygiene, and obsessive work in the fields that Graillot achieves these beautiful wines.

Professional Reviews

Antonio Galloni

AG 93
"Inky ruby. Mineral- and spice-accented aromas of ripe dark berries and candied violet show outstanding clarity and lift. At once rich and energetic in the mouth offering juicy blackberry bitter cherry and spicecake flavors that slowly turn sweeter on the back half. Shows outstanding clarity on the long penetrating finish which features well-judged tannins and lingering floral and spice notes." -Vinous

Robert Parker

RP 93
"Maxime Graillot was confident that he will bottle a La Guiraude from 2018 but the selection hadn't yet been made at the time of my visit. This barrel of 2018 Crozes Hermitage shows superb aromatics with hints of black tea accenting cassis and blueberry fruit. Full-bodied rich and velvety it reveals some chocolaty notes yet remains remarkably fresh on the finish. Maxime Graillot (Alain's son) manages this superb domaine located on the broad plains of les Chassis. Unfortunately Graillot estimates they lost 50% of their crop in 2019 because of hail damage. Thankfully the domaine is looking at two very good years in 2017 and 2018. "In 2018 we had exactly the same year we had in '17—the big difference was yield." While yields in '17 were 42-43 hectoliters per hectare in 2018 they were only 34 hectoliters per hectare. "Twenty percent less—and everything has changed" said Graillot. "If you have good yields it can mitigate the sun's effects." He describes '15 and '18 as more sunny while '16 and '17 are more terroir driven. The Alain Graillot reds are always made with 100% whole clusters so when young they often show herbal tea-like and even ashy notes from the stems. Those same stems also impart a texture that I find compelling in these wines particularly with a few years of age."


  • Country


  • Region

    Northern Rhone

  • Grape Variety


  • Vintage


  • Size


  • Farming Practice


  • Style

    Earthy , Minerally , Rich

  • Sweetness


  • Body

    Medium Bodied