In a nutshell: A superb, full, creamy and flavourpacked Rioja made from 100% old vines Graciano.
The lowdown: Most Graciano vineyards were pulled up in the 20th century to make way for easier to grow and higher yielding Tempranillo, but now this new generation of winemakers are once again fallen in love with this rather difficult and stubborn grape! Aged for 20 months in French and Romanian oak barrels, and at least 6 months in bottle, this is a complex and intense wine. Aromas of black fruits, liquorice, baking spices, dried fruits and leaves, and dark chocolate.
When to drink: Dense and juicy on the palate yet with a pleasing delicacy, blue veined Dolcelatte cheese or similar go really well here.
On the border between Rioja and Navarre, Victor Fernádez de Manzanos carries on the work of the four generations before him. Adding in significant amounts of ambition and energy, he is at the forefront of the new Rioja championing a modern interpretation of its varieties through his wines. Since 2010 the business has been run by Victor, his wife Laura and his brother David. Between them they've transformed the company, bringing it squarely into the 21st century while retaining all the best apsects built up by the earlier generations.
As a grower, Victor is keen to prove that Rioja Baja has its own distinct character and should not be judged as inferior to Rioja Alta or Alavesa - just different. With over 250ha of owned vineyards at his disposal, including what he claims to be the oldest Graciano vines in the world, Victor and the team at Manzanos are fortunately placed to put both the sub-region and the name Manzanos firmly on the map of the most important producers in Rioja.
The family cultivates the traditional varietals of Rioja - Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo and Viura - and craft wines with a real sense of place and authenticity.
The vines are planted on clay-limestone soil, at an average height of 400m. The extreme climate, wet and cold winters combined with dry hot summers, offer the perfect conditions for the production of great wines.