Maxime Graillot Domaine des Lises Equis Cornas 2009
1 or more bottles$129.99
Robert Parker's90 points
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. With each passing year his devotion to the art of making hauntingly delicious Syrah from his organically farmed, stone-laden vineyards, has been rewarded with an ever growing and highly dedicated following around the world. So fervent is the fandom that each new release is now allocated down to the bottle. And so it would seem a daunting task for the child of such a luminary to follow in the footsteps of such a giant. Luckily for those who appreciate the art of viniculture, Alain’s eldest son Maxime Graillot and his Domaine Equis not only continues the legacy started by his father, he also blazes his own trail in winemaking excellence.
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- Blue Fruits
- Red Meat
Critic Scores & reviews
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate90
"From a great vintage in the Northern Rhone, the 2009 Cornas Equis comes across as full-bodied, powerful and slightly more rustic than the 2010. Its dense purple color is accompanied by plenty of sweet blackberry fruit intermixed with licorice, truffle, asphalt and burnt earth-like characteristics. This big wine needs 2-3 years of bottle age and should drink nicely for 10-15 years. The son of Alain Graillot, Maxime Graillot has his own operation with Crozes-Hermitage representing the bulk of his 2,500-case production. The contrast between the 2010 and 2011 St.-Joseph Equis is interesting. The 2011 vintage in St.-Joseph appears to be as good as, perhaps even better than, the 2010."
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
The Rhône Valley is in the South of France and is situated in the Rhône river valley. The region has been growing wines for centuries and is generally split into two sub-regions. In the Northern Rhône, Syrah is the predominant grape variety, though it is often blended with other white varieties like Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier, or the red grape Mourvedre. In the Southern Rhône, a wide range of white, red and rosés are produced alongside the undisputed king of the Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The Northern Rhône is cooler than the Southern Rhône and has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winter. The appellations from North to South are Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Péray.
In Southern Rhône, the climate is more Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most famous appellation but others include Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas and Lirac. Large pebbles are used in the region, placed at the base of the vines to absorb the suns heat during the day, to keep the vines warm at night.
Châteauneuf-du-Papes are blended from the 13 permitted grape varieties, though Grenache usually dominates, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre. These wines can be supremely rich and complex and typically warrant 5-10 years in the cellar for best results.
Cornas is among the smallest of all the appellations in the Rhône valley and produces red wine from the Syrah grape. The addition of white grapes for blending is not permitted, and no whites are produced at all.
Along with the rest of the northern Rhône, Cornas experiences a continental climate as opposed to the Mediterranean climate further to the south. Unlike some other aspects of the northern Rhone, Cornas is for the most part shielded from the cold 'le mistral' winds and as a result is most often the first appellation in the north to begin harvest.
Only 270 acres of vines, planted anywhere from 100 meters and 400 meters above sealevel, comprise the output of Cornas, so no where near the amount of wine is produced compared to nearby Saint-Joseph appellation, which is almost 20 times the size!
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