Tempranillo Graciano Blends

by Peter

A Vinodiversity reader's question

I have been impressed with a few Tempranillo/Graciano blends

Hello Darby,

I have recently come across this blend, but I am a bit lost about which to buy. I noticed your comment (above). Would really appreciate knowing those you have tried.

All the best

Darby's reply

Although my website is about grape varieties and varietal wines I do have some misgivings about 100% varietal wines, or rather the idea that they are somehow superior to blended wines. I firmly hold that blended wines can be much better value.

In Australia we are a little too focussed on the grape variety rather than the total wine as an expression of terroir. This is a consequence of the naming system, ie we name after the variety.

My general theory about this is that at the top end (wines retailing at $50 and above then you will find 100% varietal wines which are outstanding. But in what I call middle range wines say $20-50 this is not always the case. There is of course the fudge factor where wine can have up to 15% of another variety without this being mentioned on the label so many winemakers are tacitly agreeing with my proposition anyway.

Thus as a drink a t a particular price point you may be better having a blend such as a Cabernet Merlot rather than a straight Cabernet,
or perhaps a Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre (GSM) rather than a Shiraz.

Vega-Sicilia Unico is the top red wine in Spain. It is made from about 60% Tempranillo, blended with Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Albillo. But you'll find plenty of varietal Tempranillos in Spain as well.

Mount Majura make a top range Tempranillo. They planted some Graciano a few years back with a view to using it as a blend, but their straight tempranillo is going so well they don't blend for their signature wine. The Graciano is used for a varietal and in a three way blend with Tempranillo and Shiraz.

Back to your question.

My comment above was prompted by a couple of wines I tried earlier this year. Brown Brothers have made some very good Tempranillo over the years but I think the past few years, when vintages have been difficult the varietal tempranillo's have been a bit patchy. Their Tempranillo Graciano blends have been better wines. Vinifera Winery in Mudgee have been Spanish varietal specialist for a few years. They make a wine called Gran Tinto a blend with varying amounts of Tempranillo, grenache (under its Spanish name Garnacha) Graciano and Cabernet.

A couple of other Tempranillo Graciano wines you might try are Tscharke and Cascabel.

But the only way to find out what YOU like is to try the wine.

Maybe some other Vinodiversity readers can chime in with their recommendations.

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