Viña Ijalba Graciano (Rioja)
Bodegas Viña Ijalba was founded in 1975 and has 80 acres under vine. The winery was the first Rioja winery to convert to organics, and unusually for the region, all grapes used for the wines are 100 percent estate grown. To be called Rioja, wines must be made from grapes grown not only in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, but also in parts of Navarre and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines.
(100% Graciano) Ijalba’s mission statement is to resurrect the traditional grapes of Rioja, and this wine from their 20 hectare Graciano vineyard (the largest in the world) has been the flagship since they premiered the varietal bottling in 1995. Growers moved away from Graciano because of its inconveniently low yields, but the high acidity and intoxicating perfume of the grape are a huge part of what makes Rioja blends distinctive. By itself it’s a fascinating wine, earthy, spicy and floral – wine by the glass for Rioja fans of all persuasions, which expands magically once open.