Principe de Viana Graciano

Rioja Deconstructed, Part 3: Getting to Know the Grape Graciano

The Wine of the Week: Principe de Viana Graciano

by Annette Tomei

2015 Principe de Viana, Graciano Roble, Navarra, Spain

Almost all of the Graciano in the world comes from northern Spain. Specifically, from Navarro and Rioja. Wines made from 100% Graciano are few and far between. Maybe because Graciano vines are very low yielding and a more than a little challenging to cultivate.

The Graciano grape is dark skinned with moderate tannins. It offers intense aromas – typically of chocolate, dark stone fruits and berries, and earthy flowers. Graciano is traditionally the third wheel to the Tempranillo and Garnacha power couple of Rioja reds. Its contribution is detectable in even small percentages. Thanks to Principe de Viana’s unique monovarietal project, we are able to experience this grape at the sole star of the show.

About this Wine

The inky, deep purple color and smoky, spicy, nutty aromas in this wine are intriguing. On the palate, the oak characteristics of vanilla and spice dominate. However, they appear on a slick river of cherry juice with dark plum, and a hint of red rose. This wine has moderate tannins and acidity, and medium body. The finish is peppery and slightly savory.

The almost rustic character and dark fruit and spice aromas make this wine a great match for spicy and gamier flavors – think chorizo, lamb, or morcilla (Spanish blood sausage). I enjoyed it with spicy merguez sausage, caramelized onions, and tangy yogurt sauce. For a vegetarian alternative, try an amply spiced lentil stew.

The Verdict

Of the three wines in this flight, this was the one that was most intriguing and worth seeking out. It is a unique 100% varietal wine that goes great with exotic, earthy, spicy foods. At under $15/bottle, it is an inexpensive way to explore lesser-known varieties.

I hope you enjoyed the last of three pours of our last summertime flight of fancy, Rioja Deconstructed.

For more about where I enjoyed this and other flights, please visit here.

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