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Flying Leap Vineyards: Graciano that’s a real treat

Posted on: August 30th, 2015 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

Most wine drinkers who are fascinated with the exploration of grape varietals will eventually get around to the beloved Graciano grape.  Simply put, this Spanish grape is Tempranillo’s darker, bolder cousin!  So if you like ‘em tall, dark and deep, you can be thankful that many American wineries feel the same way about this puppy.

Maybe it’s the soil conditions or wine producing techniques here in that states that have mellowed out this really dry and often astringent varietal, but stateside renditions are different than their Spanish counterparts.  Many of the California ones now can be considered as food-versatile and most enjoyable to drink.Flying Leap Vineyards Graciano

One of our own AZ vintners, Flying Leap Vineyards shares this love for the American rendition and started producing it from day one.  Actually, their 2012 vintage was sourced from Bokich Vineyards in Lodi, California where they specialize in Spanish varietals to perfection.  Flying Leap has taken their fruit and proved the process!  Verified, they certainly know how to create a great batch of wine.

However, for future releases Flying Leap (starting with 2013) intends to use all their own Arizona fruit from a 4-acre parcel that has been building up to the task more with every passing day of sunshine!  We’ll see when those bottles come out soon.  But if other attempts at Spanish varietals from various AZ wineries are any indication, this could get interesting.

As for the 2012 Graciano, you can find it on Flying Leap’s website for around $30.  With only 20 cases remaining as of now, they have stock on hand, but not endless.  This is an excellent chance to explore this grape and be sure to compare it side-by-side with a good Tempranillo (try their “Head Over Heels”).  There is a difference that is notable.

Pairing is a cinch.  Try it with Italian food featuring red or heavy white sauces and plenty of meat.  And there is always grilled bratwurst; for some reason it just works.  Or have it with meat loaf and tomato sauce.  It’s just a fun wine for anyone who wants to change it up a little.

As for the bouquet, linger over it.  There’s a lot of spice character with ripe cherries and earthiness.  Things not often noted in American wines.  Graciano’s texture and body are full with notable, but not too prominent, acidity.  Savor and jot it all down, it may be awhile before you taste one again that matches it.

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About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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