Graillot Australia is a project involving Crozes-Hermitage icon Alain Graillot and Robert Walters, his Australian importer. In France, Alain Graillot has become famous for producing Syrah wines that have the perfume and finesse of Pinot Noir.
There are two wines produced by Graillot Australia, yet both derive from a single, 3.3 hectare parcel of vines in Heathcote Victoria - a site that both men believe is capable of producing supremely elegant reds. It was the 'discovery' of this site and the realisation that it was capable of producing something very special that initiated the project.
Both Alain and Robert love reds of finesse and the opportunity of working with an exciting terroir that offered the possibility of producing such a wine from Australia was something they could not ignore. Not only was this the opportunity to produce something special, it was also the opportunity to help challenge some long-standing stereotypes about Australian terroir.
The vineyard is planted to 5,500 vines per hectare (most Australian vineyards are planted to 2,000-2,500 vines per hectare), a density that allows them to work with much lower yields per vine.
All the fruit is hand harvested. There are two harvests - one for the lower slope of the vineyard and one for the upper slope. This is a geological division with the upper slope far rockier, producing smaller bunches and ripening later. This in turn strongly influences the style and flavor profile. There are varying proportions of whole bunches used, subject to vintage, while the rest of the fruit is gently destemmed, leaving a maximum percentage of whole berries.