Domaine Des Lises
Maxime Graillot was born into a winemaking family and trained under his father until 2004 when he decided to divide his time between his father’s domaine and establishing his own with long term friend and fellow winemaker, Thomas Schmittel. They bought parcels in the village of Beaumont-Monteux, (just south of Maxime’s father’s plots in La Chene Vert) converted them from conventional to organic sites and banned the use of herbicides. Much of the fruit is de-stemmed and fermented in a combination of concrete and old Burdundian oak to produce wines with exuberant, pure fruit and ultimate freshness.
Domaine des Lises is located in Beaumont Monteux, on the appellation Crozes-Hermitage. Purchased in 2003 by Maxime Graillot, substantive work has been done on poor lands and over a vineyards in poor condition to bring it back to life. Everything had to be done up: plowing, pruning, planting, and working of an environmentally friendly manner without use of any chemicals. Maxime is meticulous in his work and lead the project till the end. Domaine des Lises appeared on the scene with the fabulous 2004 vintage and immediately gained recognition.
Maxime Graillot's estate-grown Crozes comes from a single vineyard near the village of Beaumont-Monteux, only a couple of kilometres from his father's vines. Here, in the most south-easterly part of appellation, the soils are full of gravel and alluvial stones, low in clay and fast draining - very similar to the Domaine Alain Graillot soils in Les Chênes Verts, just to the north. This soil type lends itself to a refined, aromatic Syrah with a pronounced savoury profile. Planted throughout the 1980s, the vines are now managed organically (as are the Alain Graillot vineyards that Maxime also manages). Like the Alain Graillot wines, the fermentations are entirely natural, although Graillot Jr only uses a partial whole bunch component, usually in the realm of 20-30%, and this wine tends to 'come around' earlier than the wines that carry the Alain Graillot name. This wine is fermented in concrete vats and then racked into 1, 2 and 3 year old Burgundy barrels purchased from some of the top estates in Burgundy. There is also a tiny component (less than 10%) of new barrels that are purchased from the Atelier Centre France, whose bespoke steam-bent barrels are now used at Guiberteau, Dagueneau and Chidaine. The wine spends 11 months in barrel and then is brought together for three months in large fût tronconique. Although not born from a 'classic' year, the '14 strikes out with lifted and juicy blackberry, black pepper and playful violets. The palate goes on to flood the mouth with crunchy, juicy blackberry and red jube fruit. Certainly not as sunny and deep as the 2013 from the same site, yet nonetheless it makes for some delicious drinking young. It's the type of wine that screams Northern Rhône with its impressive purity and lift, rounded, vibrant tannins and its perfume and cool freshness.
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