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Graciano, an amazing grape variety

The Graciano grape is a variety local to the Rioja and Navarre regions not widely grown in other Spanish wine regions. Its historical presence in the Rioja region translates into a ‘supporting role’ complementing the Tempranillo variety in making wines which age well, since in addition to structure and color, it offers a characteristic acidity which is necessary for the ageing of wines.

It is not an ‘easy’ variety like Tempranillo, since it has a longer cycle and, both when it over-ripens or incompletely ripens, it can have a negative effect on wines. In fact, there is speculation that its name in the Rioja region has a lot to do with the fact that, indeed, it is not a variety that is appreciated with ‘good grace’ by the vine-grower. Graciano has been at risk of extinction in the Rioja region but there are currently around 900 hectares of vines and it is a grape that is now more and more valued by wineries and vintners.

What most people do not know is that it has been crucial to the future of the Rioja region. In this respect, in the mid-1990s, the Regulatory Board evaluated the authorisation of the French variety Cabernet Sauvignon in its catalogue in the face of commercial pressure and the success of this international grape worldwide. The existence of Graciano meant that a committee was created to study whether Cabernet Sauvignon offered anything different and the result was that the local grape performed the job of complementing the Tempranillo perfectly, which is why Cabernet Sauvignon was discarded. However, other designations of origin such as Navarre opted to grow French grapes.

Traditionally grown more in the Rioja Baja region, the Graciano grape can nevertheless be found throughout the Designation of Origin. Climate change helps it to fully ripen and it is possible to see an increasing number of wines featuring this variety. Graciano is, naturally, present at our Finca Valpiedra, as a component of one of the great Rioja wines for ageing, but Familia Martínez Bujanda will shortly release a varietal that is 100% Graciano, at its Viña Bujanda winery.

This is an estate wine, from one vineyard, Peña Logroño, in the Rioja Alta region, from the 2014 harvest. A great wine, with potency and structure, with which we seek to show the character of this variety and which we have worked on both in the field and in the winery in order to obtain the perfect degree of ripeness. The main objective has been to ensure that the characteristic intensity and tannic structure of the grape itself ends up blending with the elegance and complexity that characterises all of our wines. Graciano is an amazing variety, with balsamic, menthol notes and hints of tea, which we hope that you will enjoy in the new Viña Bujanda Graciano 2014.


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