PICK of the RACK: Rio Madre | Graciano | Rioja | Spain | 2010 | $10 | 88pts

Aromas: black plum; mission fig; dark chocolate-covered cherries; hint of black pepper
Character:  full-bodied, aromatic and lush; rich, velvety mouthfeel; moderate tannins & lively acidity; fruit-earth balance
Flavors:  blackberry compote; vanilla bean; anise & baking spices; mineral; touch of leather
Food Pairing:  hearty stews; BBQ’d meats; dark chocolate

A Wine on the Barrelhead “Outstanding Value, Everyday Red” 

Here’s one of the highest quality everyday value reds we’ve come across in a long time.  Produced in the Rioja region of Spain, it’s made from 100% Graciano, a temperamental red variety often blended with the region’s more celebrated variety – Tempranillo.  The Graciano used to make the 2010 Rio Madre is grown at an elevation of 1,800 feet in dry, chalky soils, and the resulting wine embodies the best characteristics of the variety:  deep, saturated purple color; intense aromatics; savory dark fruit flavors; and brooding earthiness.  It comes across as plush but not “sappy” or “jammy,” as the bright acidity keeps the ripe fruit in perfect balance.  This harmonious Spanish red is a terrific value at $10 the bottle, and its warm and inviting character will make for a soothing Autumn sipper.  Fans of Petite Sirah, especially, will enjoy this wine.

Availability:  In Northern Virginia, the 2010 Rio Madre Graciano is distributed by The Country Vintner (www.countryvintner.com) and can be found at area Wegmans supermarkets.  If you live elsewhere, ask your favorite wine merchant to order it – by the case!



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