2019 Sheldon Wines, Sparkling Graciano, Luc’s Vineyard, Fountaingrove AVA, Sonoma County.
The Sheldon Sparkling Graciano is a deeply dark and aromatic Brut style bubbly with a full body and a creamy lightly foamy mousse, this is an exotic and inky purple wine that has layers of blackberry, plum, cranberry and Italian cherry fruits along with racy spices, crushed flowers and a touch of savory elements as well as moderate tannins that hold this tasty stuff together. The Sheldon’s have been making various versions of sparklers over the last decade, usually doing something different each vintage with this dry Sparkling Graciano being a rare edition, coming after their Tempranillo Brut Rosé, and it is my favorite so far! Elegant and full flavored red sparkling wines are not too common, and especially when made from such a rare grape such as Graciano, a grape originally from the Rioja region in Spain. For this bubbly, the Sheldon’s used one of their barrels of Luc’s Vineyard Graciano as the base for this wine, it was picked at normal red wine ripeness and saw native yeast fermentation and a full maceration to extract its vivid pigment and depth of flavors. The 2019 Sparkling Graciano can be sipped and enjoyed as you would a red wine and with hearty cuisine or be a celebratory wine for toasting a special event, though best as a starter course wine with charcuterie and or antipasti.

This single barrel of red sparkling Graciano, winemaker Dylan Sheldon says, was created using, what he calls a Traditional Method technique, but with a pop top, like a Pet-Nat, while using an extraordinary non-traditional grape varietal. Lots of loving care went into making this hand made Rouge de Noirs style bubbly that shares more in common to Australia’s dry Sparkling Shiraz than any French fizz with only about 24 cases made, making it a very fun rarity that can be very addictive. This wine was sourced from the Luc’s Vineyard, located in the new Fountaingrove AVA, which sits in the hillsides between Healdsburg and the Chalk Hill appellation, it is an organically farmed small hand tended family vineyard. The Sheldon’s, who love Graciano, have been getting every grape gown here for many years now, and they produce some of the most compelling, ultra small lot and elegant wines I’ve tried from Sonoma County from this tiny volcanic soiled plot, including a stunning Grenache, a few different versions of Tempranillo, an aromatic Syrah and one of California’s best Graciano reds available, plus this tasty sparkling treasure! While some will think of this wine as a California Lambrusco, it is much more complex and more perfumed without any of the Italian rustic or gamey quality. It’s an awesome time to discover Sheldon’s collection of wines, especially now that they’ve just released a brand new 2020 Rioja style Luc’s Vineyard 50% Graciano and Tempranillo Dry Rosé or Rosado, which I can’t wait to get my hands on!
($30 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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