The site from which the grapes were sourced is owned and managed by a good friend and neighbour of the Graillot clan, enabling the vigneron and producer to work very closely together to achieve the highest quality. It is this recent collaboration that has seen the Equinoxe cuvée reach ever-greater heights.
The wine was fermented in concrete tank and large wooden tronconique vats (with a degree of carbonic maceration), and aged in tronconique vats (for nine months). Absolutely true to form, this Crozes-Hermitage gets better by the year. Max Graillot's intimacy with his vineyards and the move towards large format winemaking are playing their role.
"Maxime Graillot no longer stands in the shadow of his celebrated father. Today he has the senior winemaking role at Domaine Alain Graillot and is carving out his own place in the history of the Northern Rhône. Naturally he is best known for the outstanding wines that bear his name and it is those that we offer here. The latest releases from Maxime’s own vineyards compare very favourably with those from his father’s, ignoring obvious stylistic differences. Displaying an intensity and minerality as though they were a birthright, the leitmotif in Maxime’s wines is juiciness, freshness and poise. It’s a quality that is setting them well on the way to becoming regional benchmarks, if they are not already.
Maxime Graillot’s Crozes des Lises’ Crozes comes from the lieux-dits of les Bourrets and les Pichéres, both housed within a single vineyard near the village of Beaumont-Monteux. Here, in the most south-easterly part of appellation, the fast draining soils are full of gravel and alluvial stones and are very low in clay, much like his father’s plot in Les Chênes Verts to the north. This Crozes soil type lends itself to refined, aromatic Syrah with a pronounced savoury profile. Planted throughout the 1980s, the vines are now managed organically (as is the Alain Graillot Estate that Maxime also manages today) and the planting density has been increased by some 200%, reducing yields per-vine and concentrating the terroir expression in the process. Like the Alain Graillot wines, the fermentations are entirely natural although one difference is that Graillot Jnr only uses a small percentage of whole bunches (rather than the 100% in Alain Graillot wines) - usually in the realm of 20-30%. As a result the Maxime Graillot Crozes tends to be better drinking young. In the cellars, Max Graillot’s élevage techniques continue to evolve in response to the better fruit quality he is now attaining. Less is more; nothing is added, save for a smidge of sulphur, new oak now only accounts for 10% of the barrel inventory, there is more and more larger-format oak, and the wine is neither fined nor filtered.
The new releases continue the impressive trajectory of one of the Rhône’s most “outward-looking and motivated young vignerons” (John Livingstone-Learmonth, drinkrhone.com). From 2015 there will be new white Crozes from a close-planted vineyard les Pends in Mercurol."
JOE CZERWINSKI - WINE ADVOCATE
A négociant project from Maxime Graillot and Thomas Schmittel, Equis offers a charming, ripe 2017 Crozes Hermitage Equinoxe. Rich and chocolaty for such a young, ready-to-drink wine, it was entirely destemmed and aged 60% in tank and 40% in wood. Medium to full-bodied, it's supple, almost creamy in texture, with a long finish. Drink it over the next 3-4 years.