Isn't It Time You Tried the Original Syrah?
According to Wine Spectator, the Northern Rhône produced its best vintage in a decade in 2009, with an overall classic score of 96 points.

Northern Rhône: Insider Information

Do you know which is the only red grape variety permitted in the entire Northern Rhône valley?

You would be correct if you guessed Syrah. No other red grape is allowed in this historic region.

And what of the three white grapes permitted in the Northern Rhône?

Viognier is the defining white grape in the appellations of Condrieu and Château Grillet. White wines seen outside of Condrieu and Château Grillet are made from Marsanne or Roussanne.

The Northern Rhône includes the great appellations of Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie which are serious rivals to the great names of Burgundy and Bordeaux (with a potential for even greater longevity). Other major red wine appellations include St.-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, and Cornas.

Which of these regions you choose to explore depends in large part upon your budget. Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage are the most exalted and highly regarded of these wines, and consequently the most expensive. They age exceedingly well and are among the most prized wines of France.

For those looking for value among the elite appellations of the Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage provides some of the best examples. In a way, the wines from this region make the past come alive. Syrah takes on bold, hearty flavors in the Northern Rhône which pair perfectly with a chilly and brisk November evening.

If you want to introduce yourself to Northern Rhône's Syrahs, Crozes-Hermitage is an ideal place to start.
Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2009
Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2009
Alain Graillot has established a reputation for making his Crozes-Hermitage the most sought after of the appellation. His wines are sold worldwide on an allocation basis only. They are a special favorite with the most prestigious restaurants in France and elsewhere.
Alain has a passion for the Syrah grape from which he makes hand-crafted wines of great distinction and elegance. His son Maxime has taken over direction of the estate with his father remaining in the not too distant background.
The quality of Graillot's wines is legendary.
Alain Graillot, Winemaker
Alain Graillot, Winemaker
Graillot Cork
Graillot has proven it's possible to make rich, concentrated reds that demonstrate everything 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.

“'For me, everything came at the right moment in 2009,' says Alain Graillot, whose eponymous Crozes-Hermitage estate has produced reference-point wines since the early 1990s.'”

(Wine Spectator, November 30, 2011 issue)

And now for the press:
The basic Crozes-Hermitage 2009 provides a textbook introduction to the vintage, with mouthwatering raspberry and blackberry fruit offset by terrific acidity. Very lively, with mouthwatering acidity driving a host of lavender, iron, and bramble notes through dense raspberry and blackberry fruit. A sanguine note adds lovely, tangy length to the finish. Should rival the 2005 for best among recent vintages. Drink now through 2017. 6,500 cases made." (Wine Spectator)
Wine Spectator: 92 points
Wine Spectator: Smart Buys
"Denser, with more blackberry fruit such as well as hints of licorice and cassis, the medium to full-bodied, wonderfully pure, dense wine is a winner and a big-time sleeper of the vintage. This rich, full, multi-layered wine should drink well for 10-15 years. 2009 is Alain Graillot’s finest vintage since 1990." (Robert Parker, Wine Advocate)
Wine Advocate: 90 points
“Assertive aromas of dark berries, cola and licorice, with a hint of dark chocolate in the background. Smoky, ripe dark fruit flavors provide good palate coverage and show gentle spiciness. Suggestions of smoked meat and black olive come up with air. Rich but also energetic, with good finishing thrust and persistent smokiness.” (International Wine Cellar)
International Wine Cellar 89-91 points
$34.99/bottle or $335.90/12 pack case ($27.99/bottle) or just $27.99/bottle in a mixed case of wine.


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