Each year I am blessed with the opportunity to taste the annual release from Gracianna Winery. With this year’s release (2012) I had a head start. One year ago during our vacation in Sonoma and our Labor Day visit with the Amador’s we enjoyed a vertical tasting of the Gracianna line-up dating back to 2007, their first release.
This line-up was not only an absolute treat (and honor as this was one of the few times the family has even done this), it was a unique opportunity to taste the entire wine collection including the pre-release 2010’s. My wife and I will never forget this experience with such wonderful friends and wines which were equally incredible.
Let’s jump in:
2010 Gracianna Pinot Noir - Bacigalupi Vineyard Designate - Russian River Valley
last year, of course, this was super young and probably only served as a component of the vertical we were doing. However, it served as an awesome backdrop for the pending release and a point or reference for this review.
These grapes were harvest at 26.6 brix in small, tight clusters. There is a malolactic secondary fermentation process which often “softens” a wine as it barrel ages, in this case for 11 months.
Last year it was young of course but the potential was evident. The potential was realized! This is a great Pinot especially if you want one that tips the balance toward a more medium bodied Pinot. Dark cherry, spice as is evident in the Gracianna Pinot’s and a smooth mouthfeel. Since my wife and I have had the luxury of trying every vintage, we can say this was the most robust Pinot. Maybe another word for robust is complex, but it seemed to have some serious depth. If I dare say, this is no wimpy Pinot. We could tell last year it would come around very well.
2010 Gracianna Zinfandel - Bacigalupi Designate - Russian River Valley
Zinfandel is in the running for my favorite varietal (a three horse race with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir rounding out the field). I often use Dry Creek Valley Zins as my measuring stick and this is no Dry Creek Zin. WHICH I am happy to say!
This Zin kicks up the boldness over the Dry Creek Zins and gives you a powerful, big Zin palate response which I love. It has a deep color, spicy notes and is the type if wine I like to hang onto in my mouth, take in some air to really give the grape a chance. Man, what an awesome Zin. It does pack a punch at 15.9% ABV but you won’t notice. Also, this is not 100% Zin as there is a trace amount of Petite Sirah (5%). FR/AM oak, 11 mos.
Side note: this took on some great character since our first taste last year. I tasted a lot (I mean a_lot!) last year and feel I am a near expert on this set of 2012 releases. Awesome. :)
2011 Gracianna Chardonnay - Suzanne’s Blend - Russian River Valley
This was the first time tasting the 2011 Chardonnay as it was not even harvest at this time last year. The 2010 we enjoyed over Labor Day was super nice and I enjoyed it more than the 2009, though not by much. I am a red wine drinker as is my wife so it is gonna take a really nice white to pry us away from our Cabs, Zins, Pinot Noirs and Syrahs.
After tasting the 2010 last year, I ordered some for myself. One of the few times I bought white wine for us and not our guests coming for an event or party. I truly enjoy this solid Chardonnay.
But that was 2010, how about the 2011? No different as I enjoyed it as well. Super crisp and fresh which is what I go for in a white, buttery, though not as much as the 2009 in my opinion and pear/peach notes. I really enjoy the acidity in this Chardonnay; it has a cleansing sensation. Make sure it is not TOO cold as most regular refrigerators will run at 37-38 give or take. Need this to settle in around 40-42 (for me anyway). I feel the Chardonnay is awesome for a mellow evening where it is not too hot outside. I hate a sweaty wineglass, ha!
This wine gets French Barrel fermentation so you will experience a more layered result. Grapes are a product of Green Valley in the RRV which maximizes canopies to ease the impact of the sunlight. If you are a Chardonnay lover, this one is for you (and now, for me too!).
Check out the new tasting room at Gracianna Winery and tell the Amador’s I said hello! Another well crafted release and a kudos to Trini IV for some serious winemaking chops!