Wine Review: Ser Winery Graciano John Smith Vineyard San Benito County 2015

ser gracianoNatural wine has a (for the most part undeserved) reputation for being funky or rough, but Ser Winery’s whole lineup is as polished  as a river stone. Nicole Walsh makes about 1000 cases of low intervention wines using fruit from vineyards in and around Santa Cruz and the Cienega Valley. (She also helped develop and continues to manage Randall Grahm’s Popelouchum Vineyard). Like most winemakers associated with the natural wine movement, she uses native yeasts, neutral oak and minimal sulfur to make wines that express the character of the varietal, vineyard and vintage. The result, in Ser’s case, is wines of sophistication and refinement.

Graciano is a relatively rare grape in California. It hails from Spain where it is used in Rioja as a blending partner for Tempranillo to add structure and aromatics. It was a real treat to find it as a varietal wine at Ser where it is blended with 3% Tempranillo.

It’s beautifully crafted with pretty aromas of blueberry, threaded with violets against background hints of candied fruit and earth. On the palate, juicy fruit is accented by a spiced, wood note gracefully balanced by a seam of vibrant acidity that persists from prelude to finish. Glossy and caressing with refined tannins, there is a leisurely upward motion as the wine glides toward its mouthwatering finish.

Concise, confident, yet tender with a languid ease like Norah Jones’ Don’t Know Why

Technical Notes: From mountain vineyards, mostly dry farmed, 5-6 day cold soak, 6 day maceration after fermentation, aged in neutral French oak puncheons for 18 months.

Score: 91

Price: $32 (Purchase Here)

Alc: 14%

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