Some years the Graciano vines produce more fruit than I need for blending. In those years I bottle a little Graciano on its own. The 2009 vintage was such a year, and I had an extra barrel, enough to make only 25 cases.
Graciano is relatively rare in the USA with perhaps only 35 or so acres in production. Although most of those are in Lodi some vines can be found on the Central Coast. The Santa Ana Valley Vineyard, just outside the town of Tres Pinos, has hot days in the summer but cool nights influenced by ocean breezes. One of the Siletto vineyards in the region, this one is dedicated to growing small lots of grapes for boutique wineries and vintners experimenting with unusual varietals.
This varietal is rarely bottled on its own. Because Graciano is low in alcohol and high in acid, it makes a perfect marriage with Tempranillo (often high in alcohol and low in acid). I find that the combination makes for an extremely well-aging wine. On its own Graciano just gets richer and smoother as it ages.
By itself Graciano is medium-bodied and has blueberry and cherry flavors and a light, fruity nose. Pair with duck with blueberry sauce (Yummy!), salmon, grilled vegetables, and just about anything that drinks well with Pinot Noir.
- Varietal Composition: 100% Graciano
- Appelation: Central Coast
- Vineyard: Santa Ana Valley Vineyard (San Benito County)
- pH at Harvest: 3.39
- Time in Barrel: 23 months
- Alcohol: 13.5%
- Production: 25 cases
- Fermentation: primary in open-top fermenters; secondary in neutral French oak barrels