Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2019, 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 is a benchmark for Crozes-Hermitage – a wine that is so seductive and delicious now it’s hard not to drink a little too much, yet it’s a wine that will develop gorgeous complexity in the cellar over the next decade or more. It has the spicy nerve, the peppery juiciness, the pure red and black fruit, the fine, grippy tannin associated with Graillot’s Crozes. Dense and concentrated but also elegant and light on its feet.