I’d say Arizona pulls off a pretty good Graciano. More and more of this popping up as single-variety-bottlings in California, as the massive plantings in Paso Robles approach child-bearing age. Dark ruby, grainy black in the shallows and smoky-black in the deep end of the glass. Musty, gorgeously-complex nose, packed with bitter sappy weed-choppings and rich plum waddling down dense cherry paths. Bright, wet-wood smokiness grips the bouquet at all points, hinting dankly at earthiness while properly propping up concentrated fruit. It’s a beautiful nose, alleging at Grenache, while spooking up Syrah visions and even Petite Sirah or Mataro.
Light and juicy on the tongue, an acidic tinge deftly massaging chunky berry in a yin-yang sort of way, keeping the palate alert and guessing. Fundamental structure a solid pillar throughout, it manages watery refreshingness over the top where early indications of tannin begin their assault. Rich dark chocolate, oily tapenade and green, spicy pepper lace a slightly-vegetal framework together, absolute DEFINITIVE ripeness gilding bright, un-cloying texture. This wine toes a delicate balance almost impossible to describe and unshakably delicious. These hi-elevation selections continue to impress, and the further you get from the Jolly-Rancher-fruited, oddly structured *usual suspect* varieties being churned out in Cottonwood, the more satisfied you will be. This will be the first time I have said this about an Arizona wine, but: I’d love to taste this in 15 years. I think some Rhone–and Iberian–people might be surprised.
2018 CALLAGHAN VINEYARDS Graciano Arizona 13.5