Maxime Graillot, son of the legendary Alain Graillot (the man who put Crozes Hermitage on the fine wine map), has bought a vineyard very near to his father’s and is now making his own wine in a purpose built, underground cellar, on the family property. In his earlier years Maxime showed little interest in wine but slowly discovered his calling through his travels across the globe. Maxime studied at the Dijon Wine School and worked in the wine industries of South Africa and California before finally returning home to start his own label.
Maxime’s vineyard is near the village of Beaumont-Monteux in the most southeasterly part of Crozes Hermitage in a lieux dit (place/vineyard name) called les Pichéres. It is a cooler, later harvesting site to his fathers in Les Chene Verts. The soils here are full of gravel and alluvial stones and are (like Alain’s vineyards) fast draining and low in clay. This lends itself to refined, aromatic Syrah with pronounced minerality. Planted in the 80s and 90s, the vineyard was in a dilapidated state when Maxime acquired it in 2004. The fruit was previously sold off to the local co-op. Maxime has converted the site to organic viticulture (herbicide and pesticide usage had previously been prescriptive), trellising has been upgraded and dead vines replaced. The soils had been heavily compacted by machine harvesting so a program of careful ploughing has commenced. The grapes are now hand harvested and yields are a fraction of what they were previously. In short Maxime has pulled out all stops to revive the site and to harvest fruit that will produce intense wines that speak of their origins.