Saturday, February 21, 2015

Strangebird on the loose - Jaquez

Jacquez is a variety or a group of varieties from the species Vitis bourquiniana, sometimes called bourquina. It is believed to have originated in the Eastern United States. As it is not in the Vitis vinifera species it is not susceptible to Phylloxera and is can be used for resistantrootstocks.

Jaquez (also known variously as Lenoir, Jacquet, Jack, Blue French, Ohio, and El Paso,is a  hybrid grape resulting from a cross of the American Vitis aestivalis species of grape with an unknown Vitis vinifera pollen donor. This hybridisation may have occurred naturally, as was the case with many of the early American grape cultivars. From its wild South Carolina parent, Lenoir carries natural resistance to the Phylloxera pest. On the Granite Belt, Ridgemill Estate grow Jaquez on their Severnlea vineyard.

The intensely coloured berries have a dark coloured juice with a distinctive flavour. Jaquez also has the distinction of being banned by France in 1935.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Strangebird on the loose - Graciano

Graciano is a Spanish red wine grape that was developed initially in Rioja where it is considered a  ‘noble’ vine.Graciano is a challenging, low-yielding variety that is often made into a Gran Reserva because of its great lasting ability. This wine is characterised by its deep red colour and strong aroma and ability to age well. Graciano thrives in warm, arid climates. Locally, it is grown by Savina Lane.'Graciano was growing here when we bought the vineyard and we are thrilled with the spicy notes and and silky mouth feel with a medium body red', says Brad from Savina Lane.

 Savina Lane Reserve Graciano 2012 won Gold at the 2014 Australian Alternative Varieties Show in Mildura Victoria. Here's what the label says:

Elegant spice notes with aromas of raspberry and plum. Intense mulberry, blackberry and vanilla flavours deliver a powerful finish backed with superfine grainy tannins.
From the Rioja region of Spain, Graciano thrives in our small vineyard at 850m on the cool border plateau of the Granite Belt. Perfect with all red meat dishes, especially venison and lamb. Serve around 18°C Alcohol: 14.2% Cellaring: 2024

Fringewine blog on-line @ has this to say about the variety:

‘Graciano is thought to be native to Rioja, where it is used to provide color and aroma to blended Rioja red wines... Typically, it makes up less than 15% of the blend when it is used at all. It can also be found in neighboring Navarra. Graciano was once very widely grown in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France where it was known as Morrastel (which can be confusing, as Morrastel is a Spanish synonym for Mourvedre) but it was uprooted in the late 20th century in favor of hardier, more productive varietals, especially something called Morrastel Bouchet which was a cross between Graciano and Petit Bouschet developed by Henri Bouschet. There is some grown in Australia, where it is known as Morrastel (though some of this may be Mourvedre as well), and some grown in California, where it is known as Xeres. It is thought that Portugal's Tinta Miúda may actually be Graciano.’

Are you confused yet?

Graciano is good with red meat, in particular, venison and lamb, or other stronger tasting or gamey meats. Check out an award winner at Savina Lane.