by Andrew Chalk
Graciano is the third grape of Rioja and often the unsung hero behind successful Reserva red wines. Pedernales Cellars gives the grape full varietal status (the blend is 75% Graciano, 19% Syrah, 6% Carignan) as is found in some other areas of the world. On their website, Pedernales explains that this is their third year working with graciano. They experiment each year and feel results improve with each vintage. The 2017 wine won a silver medal at the important Jefferson Cup in 2021 (for reasons I don’t follow, the Pedernales web site attributes the 2018 vintage with this award). The fruit came from the Lahey Vineyard and La Pradera Vineyard, planted at elevations of 3400-3600 ft. where vines grow in aeolian soils.
This wine indicates graciano has a future in Texas and should encourage other Texas wineries to try using it.
As a full-bodied, mouth-filling wine this is best paired with red meat and drunk now as the tannins are chewy but not intimidating.
Appearance: Opaque core, translucent towards the rim. Ruby/garnet hue.
Nose: Powerful and forward with aromas of smoky bacon, cedar, notes of rose perfume. Dark fruit of black cherry, balsamic. Rosemary and cinnamon in the undernotes.
Palate: Big, chewy, medium acid wine floods the mouth with fruit and bacon flavors. Soft. lingering finish.