A guide to seasonal cuisine GRACIANO
We are not the most sentimental of people, but even we will admit that when it comes to wine, some things are just meant to be , Thriving Wines, for example.
Winemakers John and Melissa moved to their patch of land in Coonawarra with the intention of only staying there for one season – the eventual aim was to move onto one of Australia’s famed wine regions once they’d honed their skills – but once that first harvest was bottled, they were hooked. The limestone soils, the iconic Aussie gum trees lining the vineyard, the way the grapes would ripen… it was all a bit too perfect, especially for John; a man who’d fallen in love with winemaking at the age of 17, and who has never stopped being amazed and enamoured by the process since.
He knows the Limestone Coast well, its wime growing regions of Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Mount Benson and Mount Gambier, their different soils, their climates. As is increasingly the case with 21st century Aussie produce, Thriving wines are stripped-back, direct, and are all about letting the fruit itself do the heavy lifting. There’s no excessive oak, no messing around – this is back-to basics viticulture, in which the grapes, the soil and the sunshine are the undeniable stars of the show.
Graciano is a red grape best known for its contribution to Tempranillo blends in the Rioja region of Spain. Here we find it a little far from home but totally at ease! Medium bodied, with notes of rhubarb, red berries and cherry, it offers extra complexity with some cold black tea and cedar. Easy drinking and very approachable.
Ah, Graciano. When it comes to food-friendly wines, we reckon this one’s a bit of dark horse, and criminally underrated! It’s the ideal pairing for everyone’s favourite Spanish spicy sausages – there’s something about chorizo and Graciano which really works wonders on the palate. It’s also ideal with well-seasoned lamb, cooked with Moroccan spices and served in a rich gravy. Blue cheeses will pair up beautifully with this wine, as will garlic and olive-based dishes such as tapenade.
RECIPE TO PAIR
Rustic Chorizo Soup serves 2 Total time: 1 hr
1tbsp olive oil
1 leek, cut into chunks
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 sweet potato , cut into chunks
1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
550ml veg stock
150 green beans
1 chorizo sausage, cut into chunks
Fry the leek, carrot, sweet potato and celery in the olive oil for 10 mins, or until nicely softened. Season well, add the cumin, vinegar, tomatoes, green beans and veg stock, then simmer for about 40mins.
Fry the chorizo in a hot pan for 10 mins, or until slightly crisp and golden. Stir into the soup, season again, and then serve with crusty bread.