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Odd-ball Grapes

Something I have a discovered since I have been in Spain is the wide variety of grape varietals to be discovered. Not only do you have up and coming grapes like “mencia” or “verdejo”, but a whole host of grapes that one wine maker or another wants to see as the “next big grape”. While some of them have only been for blending in the past, many of these dark horses are slowly making an impression on the landscape of Spanish wine. Below is a description of a few of these taken from Jancis Robinson’s Guide to Wine Grapes, and accompanied by recent notes of my own.

Graciano
“is a richly coloured, perfumed variety once widely grown in Rioja in northern Spain. It has fallen from favour because of it’s inconveniently low yields, thereby depriving modern Rioja of an important flarvour ingredient. It is still planted in Rioja (on about half a percent of available vineyard) and is being encouraged in Navarreâ€Â¦.”

After reading this, I knew I needed to try some. The first note is from [FENAVIN->http://www.fenavin.org/entrada.php], the big Spanish wine trade show I attended a month ago, while the second note was from a bottle I found in the back of a shop in [Haro->http://www.haro.org/], located in [La Rioja->http://www.twis.info/wineregion.php?ID=252]. Both were very interesting and I look forward to trying more.

  • 2003 Biurko Gorri Rioja – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja (5/16/2005)
    Deep red with a purple core. Musty nose of barnyard, black pepper and slate. Big in the mouth with big acid and tannin. Fruit is framed by black pepper-spice and earth. Very interesting and I look forward to trying more Graciano.
  • [Catavino Score=4->/?page_id=3]

  • 2000 Viña Ijalba s.a. Rioja – Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (4/19/2005)
    Deep purple with a thickness that is visible when swirled. Sour barn floor ? Nose over the top of rich fruit hiding down in the center. Big acidity and bigger tannins with the fruit in the background. I might have a bad bottle and will let it open further before passing any judgment. Softening a bit it starts to show a herbal edge and more fruit. Though the tannins still tend to be a bit to dominant. Maybe it’s too old or I need to let it sit for a long time. We’ll see later tonight and tomorrow. Never really came around though it began to drink better with more fruit finally showing. Not a bad wine though it took a bit of getting used to, though it did peek my interest to try to find some other expmples.
  • [Catavino Score=2->/?page_id=3]

Prieto Picudo
“…unusually musky grpae grwon in a large aea totalling about 6,700 ha/16,700 acres, mainly around the city of Leon in north central Spain. Wines are light in colour but very distinctive, even if they are not officially embraced by the DO system.”

I stumbled across a couple of examples and while I won’t search them out, I think they could have some fun attributes under the right conditions. I also need to look a little further into what traditional pairings have been in terms of food. I assume that’s bright fruit flavors might play a nice foil to the sweet chorizo’s.

  • 2004 Señorio de los Arcos SL Vega Carriegos Rosado – Spain, V.T. Tierra de León (5/16/2005)
    Light pure red in color. Candy fruit on the nose with a dusty clay quality to it. Huge acid and all I can say is WEIRD fruit. Almost like candy maybe cherry liquorice. My first Prieto Picudo. Not sure how many more I will come across but I would like to try a non-rosé version of this sometime.
  • [Catavino Score=2->/?page_id=3]

ListanNegro
“…recently appreciated grape which dominates wine production on the Spanish island of [Tenerife->http://www.tenerife.com/], planted on more than 5,000 ha/ 12,400 acres. [Carbonic maceration->http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonic_maceration] has managed to coax exceptional aroms out of this medium bodied wine…”
Listan Blanco
-synynom for [Palomino->http://twis.info/grape.php?ID=324&select=p]
Negra Mole
“…undistinguished Iberian dark-skinned variety. See [Tinta Negra Mole->http://www.madeirawine.com/html/tinta_data.html].”

A fun blend from the [Canary Islands->@wikipedia]. Unfortunatly my roommate brought this back when they she was there, rather than having made a trip there myself. I actually liked this though I wouldn’t say that I had tasted anything like it before. I look forward to another bottle she has stashed of a similar blend from a different producer!

  • 2004 Monje Tinto – Spain, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Tenerife (5/23/2005)
    Listan Negro, Listan Blanco, NegramollPurple with a rich red tinge. Rich black pepper(intense) nose with clove, allspice, and a strong wet slate component, all framed by a meaty herbal quality. Med weight in the mouth with a strong acid and tannin presence. Soft fruit with richness from the spice that seems to overpower the fruit some. Palate is not as intense as the nose though shows light black pepper, soft black cherry and black berry qualities. First taste of these grapes and I have to say I’m impressed and would like to try some more with various food pairings to see where it fits in best.[Catavino Score=3->/?page_id=3]

All notes posted from CellarTracker!