It’s been a truly rewarding week, as a little more of Spain has come to Washington. On Wednesday the 26th and Thursday the 27th, our new block of GRACIANO was planted at the Two Coyote Vineyard, the same location where we sourced our first two vintages of Tempranillo.
My sincere thanks to the vineyard owners, the Chiles’ and the Stroshal’s, and particularly to Phil Cline who manages Two Coyote, for all of his effort and focus making this possible. Phil sent me photos of the planting, and “los pequenos bebes” look very healthy and strong.
Graciano is a very special Spanish grape, hailing primarily from the Rioja Alta region where Tempranillo rules. Primarily, it has been used as a blending grape with Tempranillo, and as Jancis Robinson describes is “… characterized by a very strong aroma and good lasting ability and colour.” It’s unfortunate that the grape is low yielding, and as a result, has slowly declined in the region with virtually no plantings in the last fifty years.
Robinson states that the ” … absence in modern Rioja blends helps to explain some of the qualitative difference between the great Riojas of then and now.” In Duijker’s, The Wine Atlas of Spain, he echos Robinson’s lament, commenting, “It is sad that this high quality variety has almost disappeared from Riojoa’s vineyards. Low yields have made it unpopular although it makes fine, powerful wine that ages well.”
Well … their loss, our gain! We gonna’ make the phoenix rise in Washington State! So down the road in a couple of years, we should harvest our first Graciano, and find out for ourselves how aptly it blends with its big brother Tempranillo. Also, expect a stand-alone version to be included on the Salida label, as this grape deserves some serious attention.