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Senior editor James Molesworth joined Wine Spectator in 1997. He reviews Bordeaux, the Loire, the Rhône, South Africa and New York's Finger Lakes.
James Molesworth

A Young Rhône Domaine's "Spring Cuvée"

Equis Crozes-Hermitage Domaine des Lises Equinoxe 2007

James Molesworth
Posted: January 27, 2009

This Rhône Valley Syrah comes from the small, nascent domaine owned by Maxime Graillot, the son of Alain Graillot, whose eponymous domaine has become synonymous with superb Crozes-Hermitage.

While Maxime learned from a fairly traditional winemaker (the elder Graillot keeps some stems during vinification and uses little to no new oak), he has become more of a modernist, destemming fruit and using new oak for his top cuvées.

This cuvée is Graillot's "spring cuvée." The term refers to a handful of wines in the appellation that are vinified in stainless steel, matured briefly before bottling, then released in the spring following the harvest. (Gilles Robin and Domaine des Hauts Châssis also have spring cuvées.)

This wine is very pure, with a caressing mouthfeel that carries unadorned flavors of raspberry and violets, backed by a bright minerally finish. It's very fresh, thanks to its short élevage and bright acidity. At $52, it's a solid value on the wine list at Artisanal, New York's popular cheese-themed bistro. Though I've rated other Equis wines, I have not officially reviewed this vintage in my blind tastings, but on this occasion I rated it 89 points, non-blind.

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