18 Mar New Graciano 2019 from Bodegas Dominio de Berzal: a tribute to a mother and a native Riojan variety.
Bodegas Dominio de Berzal launches the new vintage of its single varietal Graciano 2019. A rare variety, unique and different from the rest, indigenous to the DOCa Rioja and that, if you know how to work with care and dedication, gives rise to surprising wines like this one.
With a limited production of 1,500 bottles per year, Graciano 2019 conveys the peculiar characteristics of this grape. To achieve this, the Berzal brothers try to intervene as little as possible in its production, letting its character and purity stand out above all. 2019 was a very hot summer that favoured the growth of the Graciano grapes, which, together with the low production of the vines, was ideal for the grapes to ripen evenly. This is vital for this wine to communicate its true essence, and that is why it is not released every year, only when the optimal conditions for its production are met.
The first vintage was 2014, although it was not until 2015 that it was released. That year Gloria, the matriarch of the Berzal family, passed away. As a tribute to their mother, the brothers dedicated this wine to her. Not surprisingly, they also saw that the character of “their mistress” (as they affectionately called her) was very similar to the characteristics of Graciano: with personality, resistant, strong and pure. On the label, the letter “G” for Graciano is highlighted in a nice nod to the “G” for Gloria.
VITICULTURE AND WINEMAKING
Single-varietal wines are gaining ground in the market. Knowing the essence of the grape and being able to taste its intrinsic personality is something that wine lovers are increasingly looking for.
With 28 year old vines, his plot of graciano grapes is located on a slope, with an altitude of 490 m and calcareous clay soil. When selecting the grapes for the production of this single varietal, they choose the part of the plot with the lowest yield per hectare and the best state of ripeness. The rest is used to make coupages and to produce their crianza wine.
The climate of the area is quite scarce in rainfall. It is a very delicate variety that needs many hours of sunshine, arid and warm climates. That is the reason why it is planted in a southern orientation, thus ensuring that the radiation is the maximum possible.
The method of making Dominio de Berzal Graciano is different from others. Based on a process learnt during one of Iñigo Berzal’s visits to France, he started to apply the “oxo line” method to this wine. It consists of using 500-litre French barrels to carry out the alcoholic fermentation in them. To do this, the grapes are put into the barrels, placed on a support with wheels, which are turned several times a day to homogenise all the grapes and the liquid inside. After the alcoholic fermentation, the wine is drained and the grapes are pressed before being returned to the barrels, where they are left to undergo malolactic fermentation.
By using 500-litre barrels, they manage to tame the variety. Graciano always has an astringent touch and, thanks to the wood, these nuances are softened during fermentation and after an eight-month ageing in the barrels.
TASTING NOTES: GRACIANO 2019 – DOMINIO DE BERZAL
Intense cherry red colour, high robe, with a very youthful and lively rim. On the nose, without moving the glass, hints of black berries, blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and bigarreau cherry can be appreciated. On swirling the glass, arid nuances of red grapefruit, salty liquorice and a light background of fresh grass are intermingled.
On the palate the attack is fresh and lively, marked by black berry aromas and a light touch of blackcurrant. The palate is silky, marked by the characteristic nuances of Graciano. In this 2019 vintage, the character of this variety stands out much more than in previous vintages, as the grapes were riper when they were harvested. With citric acidity and a slight herbal background, its tannins are smooth and elegant with an aftertaste that highlights freshness and subtle roasted notes leaving a hint of bitter chocolate.
Ideal with small game and feather game dishes, mushrooms, pink meats, duck and cheeses.