Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2020, Rhone, France

In France’s Northern Rhone Valley, there are few names as revered as Graillot. It was in 1985 that the now legendary Alain Graillot, who after working with the venerable Jacques Seysses at Domaine Dujac, came back to his home in Crozes-Hermitage to start his own domaine. Alain’s sons Maxime and Antoine have been in charge since 2008, and Alain worked alongside them until his death in 2022. All the work is still completely the same as it ever was: hand-harvesting, organic farming, whole-cluster fermentation, and aging the wines primarily in 1-to-3 year old barrels purchased from some of the top estates in Burgundy. This wine is 80% Marsanne and 20% roussanne from 35+ year old vines. Ver;y rocky gravel soils, no malolactic feremntation. Fermented and aged in 50% 1-year-old Burgundy barrels, 50% stainless steel. Graillot’s 2020 Crozes Hermitage Blanc features slightly honeyed notes on the nose, plus hints of pear and pineapple. It’s medium-bodied, fresh, direct and clean, an early-drinking charmer.