EVERYDAY WINE PICK: Rio Madre | Graciano | Rioja | Spain | 2013 | $12 | 88 pts

GracianoGraciano is a temperamental, low-yielding red variety native to Spain’s Rioja region that is traditionally blended with the region’s more celebrated variety – Tempranillo. This rendition consists of 100% Graciano grown at an elevation of 1,800 feet in dry, chalky soils. It embodies the most pleasurable characteristics of the variety:  deep purple pigmentation; intense aromatics; savory dark fruit flavors; and brooding earthiness. On the nose are impressions of cherry liqueur, clove, and cracked peppercorn; and on the palate, notions of dried black cherry and cranberry, herbes de provence, and mineral. It is dry and medium-bodied, with mild tannins and an assertive acidity that lends itself to the table. This is, indeed, a food-friendly wine that will complement assorted cheeses, charcuterie, tomato-based dishes, and varied hearty and spicy fare. It needs a little time to reveal itself, though, so we suggest decanting or just letting it sit open for 30 minutes or more before serving. Rio Madre’s Graciano delivers commendable quality vintage after vintage, and is a terrific value for the price. (14% ABV)

Availability:  We found the 2013 Rio Madre Graciano at our local Total Wine store, and it is available at many Total Wine locations nationwide. Visit them virtually at www.totalwine.com for availability in your area.

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