Rio Madré Rioja 2019, Spain
Rio Madré is unusual for a Rioja because it is composed entirely of Graciano, rather than being Tempranillo-based. Graciano is typically utilized in tiny quantities as a blending variety, since it only represents 1.5% of total plantings in Rioja. However, the Escudero family recognized the potential for quality from their vineyards for an estate-bottled inexpensive monovarietal Graciano. This wine was dry-farmed without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. A small amount of stems were included for additional tannin structure, and the wine rested for 6 months in used oak barrels. Its inky ruby hue draws you in towards blackberries and tart cherries with a hint of olive. It is chewy on the mid-palate and finishes with smoke and spice. This is versatile with Mediterranean flavors and a good burger wine.