"Maxime Graillot now oversees not only his late father's domaine but also his own, Domaine Equis; somehow he manages to follow Alain's elegant, lifted styles while creating his personal vision of that same terroir, itself a singular example of Rhone greatness. "According to Jeremy Seyesses [of Domaine Dujac]"
Maxime Graillot of Domaine Equis can look over his 12 hectares of Rhone land proudly, as he has carved out a name for himself despite the legendary status of his father, Alain, and his eponymous domaine. If you never knew the back story, Alain was one of several vinous luminaries to study under the hand of Jacques Seyesses (Dujac), but one of the few to strike out on his own in a region beyond Burgundy. Alain retreated even further to the humble Crozes-Hermitage, the redheaded stepchild of the Northern Rhone. That he managed to create wines as silky and ethereal as the Grand Crus Seyesses churned out was seemingly beyond explanation, as the land was forever deemed poor, unmanageable and second-rate. Admits John, "Lots of over-farming in Crozes, but Graillot stands head and shoulders above the rest."
After joining his father at a young age, in 2004 Maxime decided to set his sights on purchasing his own land to show his unique vision of the terroir, and he found parcels not only in his native Crozes-Hermitage, but also in Saint-Joseph and Cornas. His styles of not only the home terroir but the other reds (and a white!) have garnered some acclaim as a more plush, albeit exuberant version of his father's examples of the Rhone grapes. "Graillot always stood out to me as wine of the night," John admitted, "Even in a pile of Grand Crus and instagram wines."
Maxime was adamant that, with his new vineyards, everything would be done organically and naturally. The results have been absolutely splendid. Using a bit less whole cluster fermentation than his father, Maxime's wines do show a bit more roundness and are very elegant even in their youth. The one white wine of the house is - in his father's steps - a Crozes-Hermitage blanc concocted of 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne. The gravelly soils show through in a way that elevates the usually tactile, juicy grapes, creating a brilliant verve of acid and ripeness. The Crozes-Hermitage Rouge comes from nearby his family's land, is 100% Syrah and fermented with 30% whole clusters included. The classic gravelly terroir shows through in a clean mineral fashion, elevating the dark red and black fruits. His Saint-Joseph comes from an incredibly steep slope in the absolute heart of the appellation, a plot that cannot be harvested or plowed mechanically. This is probably the most structured of the lineup, with taut red and dark fruits complemented by crushed stones and dried dark flowers. Finally, the Cornas is the most ethereal of the bunch - wild black fruits, black pepper and licorice with the whole-cluster spice really elevating the entire mouthfeel.