All About Tempting Tempranillo

Published on 3/7/2010 in Spanish Culture

Native to Spain, Tempranillo is a black grape used to produce full bodied red wines. It is the primary grape that is used to make Rioja, the wine that Spain is most famous for.

It is often blended with other grapes, most commonly Grenache, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tempranillo wineThe name is taken from the Spanish word temprano which means early, and this refers to the grape's early ripening, which is several weeks earlier than many other Spanish red grapes.

It's likely that this grape can count Pinot Noir as a common ancestor, and this is hotly debated among experts in wine.

Tempranillo is not only planted in Spain, and has enjoyed success in many of the New World wine regions, including South Africa, Australia, Canada, USA and South America.

This wine can be drunk young, but it is better when it is barrel-aged for several years. In Spain, the word crianza denotes aged wine. The word reserve is used by wineries intending for a wine to be aged for an extended period of time.

Aromas and flavours in the wine can include plum, berries, vanilla, herb, leather and even tobacco.

Food pairing

Tempranillo is good when drunk with red meats like beef and lamb, but also goes well with pork, bacon, turkey and duck, as well as hard cheeses like manchega and edam.

Tender cuts of meat are best, and an especially light bottle of the wine will be drinkable with a salad.

Generally speaking though, any wine can be consumed with any food, because it is all a matter of personal taste and what works best for you. A good, medium-priced Tempranillo will go down well at a dinner party with red meat in general and, unless you happen to have invited a circle of wine snobs to your home, there should be no complaints!

This Spanish grape enjoys success in the New World countries as well as the old, but when visiting Spain, it would be a shame not to sample the native Spanish wines as you may just find a gem at its very best.

Spain has a great climate for growing grapes, hours of long, strong sunshine that we in the UK can only dream about or experience on our summer holidays!

Always remember to enjoy your red wine responsibly; despite widely-reported health benefits of red wine, if you happen to have one or two sips too many, it does have the tendency to give its drinker a bit of a heavy head the morning after!

Written by: Dominic Donaldson (Tempranillo)

About the author:

Dominic Donaldson is a wine expert. Find out more about Tempranillo and the great bottle just waiting to be experienced!

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Jin said:
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 @ 7:07 PM

This post makes me smile! I just landed in the US - back from Spain - and we go to La Granja ALL the time! 45 mineuts from Madrid. If only TJ's would come to Orlando I could stock our wine rack.

Sarah Mac said:
Tuesday, March 9, 2010 @ 8:31 PM

Personally my preference is for Tempranillo blended with Mazuelo or Graciano, or better still, both. These grapes bring a velvety texture to the wine and a pleasant, lasting finish that lingers on the memory. I feel Tempranillo benefits from being mellowed by these grapes. Try Azpilicueta and Lealtanza: divine!

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