Calling all Northern Rhone enthusiasts, stylistically speaking, what do you think the differences and similarities between these two regions are?
What are some of your favorite producers within them?
Alain Graillot is certainly one of the top 5 Crozes producers and yes, the location is strangely in the mid-southern part of the AOC. However, Graillot's vineyards are planted at high density and there are substantial galets roules punctuating the vineyards. He crops low and the winemaking is quite detailed. The result somewhat exceeds our preconceived notions of quality in Crozes, as do those of Domaine de Lises,, Dom de Thalabert & Dom du Colombier. The actual true area of granitic hills around the commune of Crozes-Hermitage only represents approx 5% of the total planted area of of the whole appellation but there are many sites in other parts of the AOC capable of producing beautiful, ageworthy expressions in the right hands. To me this is the appellation to watch for value right now (especially since the Cornas bubble has unfortunately burst in so far as desirability / price is concerned).I think Saint Joseph was extremely well covered in the other replies on this thread. Nothing to add there.
Alain Graillot is one of my favorites as well. I tried his recent 2015's and with some double decanting they are already drinking very nicely (St. Joseph really meaty and bold, Crozes Hermitage slightly softer and elements of black tea). I also blinded the 1996 Crozes Hermitage and it was true to the style; peppery, soft brambleberry fruits, and still holding its body.