What is Graciano and where is it found?
Graciano is perhaps best known as "Rioja's third grape" after Tempranillo and Garnacha, although you can also find it outside Spain too as Morrastel in France or Tinta Miúda in Portugal. In Rioja, it used to be more widely grown but low yields meant it fell into disfavour for a while but is now staging a comeback. It was traditionally used in blends where producers appreciate the natural freshness it brings to the wines, but in recent years a few producers in Rioja and Navarra, for example, have begun making single varietal wines with Graciano.
Graciano's main characteristics
You’ll find it most frequently in Rioja, but Graciano is a pretty adaptable, late-ripening grape variety that can work well in different soil types and it is quite resistant to drought, though in damper years growers have to watch out for downy mildew. It has a very dark hued skin, and gives dark, intense red wines with good acidity and levels of tannin. It can be prone to oxidising so needs to be handled carefully in the winery.
What does Graciano taste like?
Graciano is often described as a very perfumed variety, with a very aromatic nose of spice, mature red fruit and menthol notes. It tends to give fresh, elegant wines which are quite full in the mouth and with a long finish, and it combines well with red meat, charcuterie and cheese.
Where can I try some Graciano?
There aren’t that many single varietal examples available, but a good one to try is by Navarra producer Viña Zorzal. Blended examples are easier to come by and we especially like the rich, dark colour and fresh notes it brings to Solarce Tinto by Rioja producer Casa la Rad.