Definitively one of the loveliest Crozes-Hermitage in the market! This is a delightful red that is full of bramble fruit, bright red berry and integrated spice flavours that captures the essence of a modern and vibrant approach to Syrah and the whole of the Rhône region itself. Excellent with pretty much anything you can throw at it, we're totally unsurprised to see it on the lists of some of the best restaurants around.
Made from 100% Syrah grapes, the vines for this wine are grown organically in vineyards located in the commune of Beaumont Monteux using no herbicides or pesticides: a practice becoming increasingly common in the Rhône Valley. Gravel soils predominate here, promoting easy drainage resulting in a more refined, aromatic style of Syrah. It's this light and brightness of Syrah that has made this style so popular with modern palates; you get freshness and dark colour in wonderful balance with heaps of flavour in between.
In the Northern Rhône Valley, there are a few winemakers with seriously excellent reputations. Among the surnames that adorn the list, one of the most revered is certainly that of Graillot; after working under other distinguished winemakers, the now legendary Alain Graillot came back in 1985 to his home in Crozes-Hermitage to start his own domaine and, over the years, he has made consistently excellent Syrah from his organically farmed, stone-laden vineyards.
Alain's eldest son, Maxime trained under his father and is now in charge of the original domaine, as well as establishing his own, organic winery in 2003, Domaine de Lises. Much work had to be done converting the old conventionally farmed vineyards Maxime had purchased into an organic ecosystem he envisioned, involving extensive ploughing and working of the land and more importantly, without the use of any chemicals. Domaine de Lises immediately gained recognition for their first vintage in 2004 and has continued to go from strength to strength.
Compared to Alain’s wines, Maxime’s are are more fruit forward as a result of de-stemming nearly all of his (100% Hand-harvested) grapes. Through his extensive contacts in Burgundy, all of Maxime's wines are aged in barrels previously used by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. It's as close as most of us will ever get to drinking from that particular cup!
The ‘Equinoxe’ is a modern interpretation of Crozes Hermitage for early drinking but will also get better over time; we've had it at four or five years of age and as the softness levels increase, so too do the subtle nuances of spice and herb. It's a beautiful and excellent value wine.
Region: Rhone Valley
Style: Svelte, Structured, Pure, Organic, Medium Full, Iconic, Fresh, Fleshy, Dark, Complex
Best food matches: Venison, Tuna, Tapas, Steak, Roasts, Red Meats, Poultry, Mature Cheeses, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Fine Dining, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Beef, Barbecue