This range is called ‘Las Criollas de Don Graciano’ in reference the grower of this traditional, pergola vineyard in the Uco Valley. ‘Criolla’ is the name given to a grape variety resulting from the cross-breeding of Vitis vinifera species introduced to the area by Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century. They are unique to South America, and often times, they are lost in abandoned vineyards. By working with the original growers of these varieties, like Don Graciano, Norberto and Sebastián have become pioneers in the revival of the Criolla grapes in Mendoza. The Field Blend is roughly equal parts Criolla Grande, Moscatel Rosado, and Cereza. Criolla Grande is a red-skinned grape unique to Argentina that is believed to be a crossing of a crossing of Mission (also known as Pais and Criolla Chica) and Muscat of Alexandria. The parentage of Moscatel Rosado, which is unrelated to the Portuguese variety with the same name, is unknown but one parent is believed to be Muscat of Alexandria. To make matters more confusing, Cereza is a pink-skinned grape grown exclusively in Argentina and Chile that is across between Muscat of Alexandria and Listán Prieto, which is a synonym for Pais. This would make Cereza genetically very similar to Criolla Grande, and indeed, they present many of the same organoleptic qualities but are believed to have enough genetic variation to be called two separate grapes. Phew! In a nutshell, this is an extremely unique clarete wine made from a fascinating blend of traditional Criollas grapes.
The field blend of grapes were hand harvested and pressed to a mix of concrete vats and old oak barrels for spontaneous fermentation. About 20% of the batches saw 2 weeks of skin contact. After pressing off the skins, the wine went back to their fermentation vessels for three months of aging on the lees, after which the lots were blended to tank and bottled with just a coarse cross-flow filtration of the wine at the bottom of the tank and a small dosage of sulfur. No fining.