Garnacha Graciano - 2018
Or try it in the Aficionado Subscription
Sínodo's Garnacha Graciano is a wine that elevates the strengths of these two traditional varieties of La Rioja. The Garnacha brings bright fruity flavours of red berries and is complemented by the freshness, structure, subtle spiciness, and dark fruit notes of the Graciano; this is followed by a complex and smokey sweet background of oak.
Sínodo is the passion project of three friends; Roberto Monforte, Gorka Etxebarria, and Juan Antonio Blanco, who met during their Oenology studies at the University of Rioja.
Their families have been producing wine in La Rioja for generations and they continue to care for the vineyards that their ancestors planted, some over a century ago. All the grapes are cultivated organically using sustainable and traditional methods.
Several of Sínodo's vineyards (Raposeras and Los Tollos) have been designated a Viñedo Singular; so far there are only about 80 vineyards in Rioja that have been recognized with the title (similar to Grand Cru in la Bourgogne, France). In order to achieve the Viñedo Singular designation, the wine must meet a strict set of requirements. This new system will ensure maximum traceability of the region's most unique vineyards and make sure they remain protected in the future.
Annual Production: 2483 bottles (The club has access to 200 annually)
Type: Tinto (red)
Finish: Balanced and crisp
Grape Variety: 50% Garnacha 50% Graciano
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable & Organic - Terroir Driven
Ageing: 11 months in used French Oak, American Oak, and stainless steel tanks
Winemakers: Roberto Monforte, Gorka Etxebarria, Juan Antonio Blanco
Bodega: Sínodo Vitivinícola
Region: Rioja Oriental, Subregion Yerga, municipality of Ausejo
Designation of Origin: DOCa Rioja
Micro-Climate: Mediterranean/Continental – cool & humid winters (2ºC) and hot dry summers (29ºC)
Elevation: Average 500-560 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: Planted 1979 – 42 years old
Soil: stony/sandy with good drainage
- Drink now or keep for up to 12 years
- Decant if possible or open 30 minutes before serving
- Pairs well with red meats, Manchego cheese, Jamon Iberico, stews, paella and other rice dishes, chocolate desserts
- Ideally served just below room temperature
Sinodo's Garnacha Graciano vineyards are located on plateaus between 500-560 meters of altitude near Valderrete and La Antigua, in the Northern part of the Subregion of Yerga. The Garnacha and Graciano varieties are very well adapted to La Rioja Oriental, one of the dryest and sunniest areas of Rioja. Their longer maturation cycle and resistance to drought when compared to Tempranillo allow the grapes to show their full potential.
The Rioja DOCa (DOCa = Denominación de Origen Calificada) is one of the oldest in Spain and the region has a history of producing wine dating back to the Phoenicians and Celtiberians in the 9th century CE.
The popular wine region is located in the northern part of Spain, about 240 kilometres north of the capital, Madrid, and 95 kilometres south of Bilbao.
The Rioja viticultural area is very diverse. It stretches about 120 Kilometres long by 40 Kilometres wide, and is crossed from Northwest to Southeast by one of the longest rivers in Spain, the Ebro river, with seven of its tributaries and their corresponding valleys, and six mountain ranges.
Some call it the land of a thousand wines, but it is even more diverse than that. You might have read that the region is divided into three main areas; Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Oriental (formerly Rioja Baja).
This division is obsolete and it is being reviewed because it doesn’t provide detailed information about the great variety of Terroirs and viticultural traditions of La Rioja. The new Terroir-oriented partition will be formed by six to eight subregions.
In 2017 the Consejo Regulador of the Rioja DOCa introduced a new wine classification system, moving away from the similarly obsolete classification of oak-ageing as an indication of quality (remember: Genérico, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva).
Now on the wine labels apart from the indication of the traditional zones (Rioja Alta, Alavesa, or Oriental), and the municipality (Note: there are 145 Municipios in the viticultural region of La Rioja), you may now find the indication of Viñedo Singular (a similar concept to "Grand Cru” vineyards in La Bourgogne).
The Garnacha and Graciano are fermented in separate 1500-liter stainless steel tanks. The Garnacha is gently crushed while the Graciano is fermented in whole bunches. After the primary fermentation, the grapes are further gently crushed. Their goal with this wine is to have minimal extraction. The Garnacha undergoes 20 days of further fermentation and the Graciano, 15 days, after this time the pressing takes place. No pumps are used to move the wine at any time, only gravity, in order to be very gentle and ensure the wine maintains all the important micro-organisms.
Once the lees settle, the wines are mixed together and aged 3 separate ways; in 2 unused American Oak barrels of 225 litres, 2 used French Oak barrels, in a 300-litre stainless steel tank, and the remaining 750 litres in a special breathable tank. After about 6 months all the wine is combined and aged a further 6 months.
Sinodo Vitivinicola is a project started by three friends; Roberto Monforte, Gorka Etxebarria, and Juan Antonio Blanco. The three met during their Oenology studies at the University of La Rioja, and immediately hit it off; dreaming of creating wines together one day.
In 2014 that dream came true, beginning as a fledgling side project while the three worked at separate wineries. Sinodo has since flourished into an internationally well-respected bodega of La Rioja, with three of their vineyards achieving the venerated official title of Viñedo Singular (only 84 vineyards in La Rioja hold this title so far).
Their objective is to create honest wines, born of their ancestral family vineyards, with the utmost respect towards the terroir and the traditional framework of cosecheros (viticulturists) working with winemakers. This is why they believe in spoiling their vines with attention; being part of the whole process from la vendimia (grape harvest) to the point of bottling, something that isn’t possible in large-scale operations.
They firmly believe that the meticulous hands-on approach is the best way to create top-quality wine while also preserving ancestral vines and the traditions of La Rioja; a unique heritage that they strive to protect for future generations.
93 Points - Tim Atkin (Master of Wine)
"Sínodo is one of the most exciting projects to emerge in Rioja in the last decade. Made by three oenologist friends at the San Miguel de Ausejo co-operative, this equal blend of Garnacha and Graciano from vineyards in the Rioja Oriental is savoury, concentrated and perfumed, with deftly handled American oak, fine tannins and bramble and blackberry fruit. Long and well balanced. 2023-30."
90 Points - Luis Gutiérrez Santo Domingo (Wine Advocate, Robert Parker)
There is a new blend of the two red varieties that behave better in the warmer part of Rioja. The 2018 Garnacha - Graciano has equal parts of each grape and a nice nose with some notes of Mediterranean herbs and esparto grass, denoting ripeness. The ripeness is noticeable in the palate in the shape of moderate acidity. I was expecting a little more vibrancy in a vintage like 2018. Still, the wine is very pleasant. 2,483 bottles produced. It was bottled in September 2019.