Graciano Alert

Bodegas y Viñedos Ilurce, representing 4 generations of diligent labour, is
a family company originally founded by Grandfather Amador Escudero in 1940
shortly after the Spanish Civil War ended. Their property in the Baja district, one
of 3 sub-regions of La Rioja that also includes Alta and Alavesa, has significant
plantings of old vine Graciano grapes on their 60 hectares of chalky, alluvial soil
– with most of these mature vineyards now averaging at least 40 years of age.

More typically, this highly regarded region’s wines are built around Tempranillo,
with Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo(Carignan) varieties incorporated in small
quantities as blending components, adding aroma, body or flavour depth. Now,
under the nervy and innovative guidance of younger Spanish vintners, Graciano
is experiencing a renaissance as an excellent varietal wine on its own, despite
its commercial liabilities of being notoriously low-yielding and mildew susceptible.

The wine trade in the La Rioja region is both storied and in a state of transition.
Apparently, the earliest mention of viticulture is preserved in a document known
as ‘Carta de población de Longares’ (Letter to the settlers of Longares) dating
to 1063 with the first legal recognition of Rioja wine bestowed in 1102 by the
King of Navarra and Aragon. In terms of its relative quality and practices, local
wine merchants have a long history of establishing Bodegas to market wines
made from intermixed fruit supplied by approx. 20,000 growers, in turn drawn
from the harvests throughout all 3 sub-regions. More recently, to better typify
its wine styles and output, Bodegas are becoming more discerning and are now
beginning to source grapes from only single zones in these allowable regions.

This week’s DéClassé recommended bottle is consistent with the latter practice
and results in an over-achieving table wine that defines exceptional value. Also,
having spent about 11 months in French Oak, it has sufficient structure to age
well in the cellar for at least another 2 – 5yrs. – meaning you won’t have to rush
through the second or third bottle that you bought after drinking the first.

Rio Madre

RIO MADRE RIOJA 2013
VINTAGES – Product #354753 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 14.95
14.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in: Rioja, Spain
By: Bodegas Y Vinedos Ilurce
Release Date: Jan 10, 2015

Tasting Note
Dark fruits lend notes of black cherry, blackberry, pomegranate and a pleasant
touch of licorice. Try serving this medium-bodied and slightly spicy wine with beef
tenderloin, steak frites, chorizo and lentil stew or with strong cheeses.

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